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Br J Cancer. 2011 Jun 28;105(1):22-7. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.202. Epub 2011 Jun 7.

Menopausal symptoms and bone health in women undertaking risk reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: significant bone health issues in those not taking HRT.

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Department of Genetic Medicine, The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Central Manchester Foundation Trust, St Mary's Hospital, 6th Floor, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.



Women at high ovarian cancer risk, especially those with mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2, are encouraged to undergo bilateral risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (BRRSPO) prior to the natural menopause. The decision to use HRT to cover the period of oestrogen deprivation up to 50 years of age is difficult because of balancing the considerations of breast cancer risk, bone and cardiovascular health.


We reviewed by questionnaire 289 women after BRRSPO aged ≤48 years because of high ovarian cancer risk; 212 (73%) of women responded.


Previous HRT users (n=67) had significantly worse endocrine symptom scores than 67 current users (P=0.006). A total of 123 (58%) of women had ≥24 months of oestrogen deprivation <50 years with 78 (37%) never taking HRT. Bone density (DXA) evaluations were available on 119 (56%) women: bone loss with a T score of ≤-1.0 was present in 5 out of 31 (16%) women with no period of oestrogen deprivation <50 years compared with 37 out of 78 (47%) of those with ≥24 months of oestrogen deprivation (P=0.03).


Women undergoing BRRSPO <50 years should be counselled concerning the risks/benefits of HRT, taking into consideration the benefits on symptoms, bone health and cardiovascular health, and that the risks of breast cancer from oestrogen-only HRT appear to be relatively small.

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