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Oncologist. 2011;16(9):1250-7. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2010-0336. Epub 2011 Jul 17.

Factors associated with altered long-term well-being after prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy among women at increased hereditary risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Institut Gustave Roussy, 39 Rue Camille Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif, France.



Prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (PBSO) might alter several components of well-being, such as sexual functioning and endocrine symptoms, in women at high risk for hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer, compared with the general population. We searched for factors associated with altered long-term well-being in this population (lower quality of life [QOL], altered sexual functioning, greater anxiety, more endocrine symptoms).


All high-risk women who had undergone PBSO during the past 15 years in a single cancer center were contacted by mail. Upon acceptance, they were sent five questionnaires: (a) general social questions, (b) the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30, (c) Sexual Activity Questionnaire, (d) Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - Endocrine Symptom, and (5) State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Logistic analyses were used to identify factors associated with altered results. Because of multiple testing, only p-values ≤ .01 were considered significant.


One hundred twelve of 175 women (64%) returned the completed questionnaires at a mean duration (standard deviation) of 6.0 (5.1) years after PBSO. QOL was positively influenced by two baseline factors: a high educational level and occupying an executive position. However, younger age at PBSO was associated with lower social functioning and greater anxiety. At the time of the study, practicing a sport and the avoidance of weight gain (≥10%) were highly related to QOL, sexual pleasure, endocrine symptoms, and anxiety in the univariate analysis and predictive of better QOL and lower anxiety in the multivariate analysis.


Younger women and women with a low educational level and no occupation appear to be at higher risk for altered long-term well-being. After surgery, practicing a sport and stable weight may help maintain overall well-being.

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