• Cancer

    Consumer Health: Is prophylactic oophorectomy right for you?

a serious-looking middle-aged woman sitting on a couch, with her arms wrapped around her knees

An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both ovaries. This may be necessary in the case of an abscess, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, or benign tumors or cysts.

Another reason for having this procedure is to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer or breast cancer in those at increased risk. This includes women who have an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, and those with a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer but no known genetic alteration.

Preventive, or prophylactic, bilateral oophorectomy — removing your ovaries to reduce your risk — carries benefits and risks that must be carefully balanced when considering this procedure. You also should consider your individual risk of cancer and how aggressive you want to be in your cancer prevention efforts.

Learn more about prophylactic oophorectomy and whether it might be right for you.

Related Articles