University of Pennsylvania Health System

Focus on Cancer

Sunday, March 23, 2014

AP Quotes Basser Center Director Susan Domchek on Recent Oophorectomy Article

A recent article published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology confirmed the importance of oophorectomy for BRCA carriers and suggested a need for early oophorectomy for women with mutations in BRCA1, one of two genes known to greatly increase risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The article’s take-home message was that women with BRCA mutations benefit from risk-reducing oophorectomy, which confirms earlier published findings.

This article suggested that BRCA1 mutation carriers should have their ovaries removed by age 35, while current guidelines indicate ovaries should be removed by age 35 to 40 for carriers of both BRCA1 and BRCA2.

In a recent Associated Press article, Susan Domchek, MD, director of Penn’s Basser Research Center for BRCA weighed in on the recent findings, stating the importance of weighing the ovarian cancer risk and option of risk-reducing surgery alongside other decisions in a woman’s life:
“Thirty-five isn’t necessarily a magic number,” Domchek said. “If you are talking to a woman who hasn’t yet finished having her kids, it’s a completely reasonable thing to discuss the low risk of ovarian cancer by age 40 in the context of the other decisions that she’s making in her life.” 

However, Dr. Domchek adds her message for BRCA1 carriers: “By age 40, I will be nagging you about this again.”

Read the AP article, and visit Basser.org for more on BRCA screening, support and education.

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