Elective removal of ovaries questioned

March 11, 2010 at 8:44 PM
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SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. physician suggests elective removal of the ovaries may do more harm than good.

Dr. William Parker of the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., concludes the benefit of removing ovaries -- bilateral oophorectomy -- to prevent the development of ovarian cancer is outweighed by the increased risks of coronary artery disease and neurologic conditions.

Parker conducted an analysis of medical literature that included studies of post-hysterectomy cancer incidence, all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and hip fractures and coronary artery disease.

Parker says oophorectomy causes the rapid decline of hormones -- even in postmenopausal women and hormone deficiency increases the risks of coronary artery disease, hip fracture and neurologic conditions. About 15,000 U.S. women die each year of ovarian cancer, he says, but 350,000 women die of coronary artery disease.

"Given that 300,000 U.S. women a year undergo elective oophorectomy, the findings of increased long-term risks have important public health implications," Parker says in a statement. "Prudence suggests that a detailed informed consent process covering the risks and benefits of oophorectomy and ovarian conservation should be conducted with women faced with this important decision."

The analysis is published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.

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