BRCA1 and Hysterectomy

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Story Updated: Mar 26, 2014

It has long been known that women who carry the BRCA1 gene mutation face a higher risk for ovarian cancer and breast cancer.

As a protective measure, experts recommend that these women have their ovaries and fallopian tubes surgically removed between the ages of 35 and 40 upon completion of child-bearing to reduce their risk. Uterus removal, however, is not recommended due to complication concerns. But a new study suggests that absent a hysterectomy, women with BRCA1may face a greater risk than the general public for rare and aggressive forms of uterine cancer. The finding discussed at a meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology follows the tracking of cancer histories among 525 high-risk women who underwent RRSO while retaining their uterus. A small number of women with BRCA1 did go on to develop aggressive uterine cancer, and this number was greater than expected, suggesting that removal of the uterus along with the ovaries and tubes be discussed with one's health care provider.

Nevertheless, the study team said the findings will have to be confirmed before altering surgery recommendations to include hysterectomy.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.

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