Bilateral oophorectomy and breast cancer risk reduction among women with a family history

Janet E. Olson, Thomas A. Sellers, Stephen J. Iturria, Lynn C. Hartmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose: We investigated whether removal of the ovaries is an appropriate risk reduction option for women at elevated risk of breast cancer based on family history of breast cancer. Patients and methods: This question was investigated among a group of 851 women less than age 60 who underwent bilateral oophorectomy between 1970 and 1994 for various reasons. Questionnaire information was collected from 680 (80%) and women were grouped into family risk categories. Reported occurrences of breast cancer were compared to expected rates based on the Gail model. Results: The number of observed breast cancers among women in the cohort was lower than expected for all levels of familial risk, with women in the highest risk groups experiencing about half to one-fourth the number of cancers expected. The apparent protective effect of oophorectomy was stronger among women who were both premenopausal and less than age 50 at time of surgery. Conclusion: These data support oophorectomy as a valid breast cancer prevention option for women of all risk levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-360
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Detection and Prevention
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004


  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • Breast cancer
  • Oophorectomy
  • Prophylactic surgery
  • Risk reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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