Fallopian tube removal advised for more women to prevent ovarian cancer

In some cases, those who are done with childbearing may be advised to have tubes removed if they are having another gynecological surgery anyway

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10 min

To prevent more cases of ovarian cancer, a major research and advocacy group is suggesting an aggressive prevention strategy: remove a woman’s fallopian tubes if she is undergoing pelvic surgery for another reason.

The practice would apply to women, trans men or nonbinary people at average risk who don’t plan to have any or additional children. The fallopian tubes are hollow structures that allow eggs to travel from the ovaries to the uterus.

The guidance to remove them, included in a new consensus statement from the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, is not entirely new — it reflects conversations many doctors already have with their patients and mirrors guidelines from at least two medical groups.

But the advice is certain to draw increased attention to fallopian tube removal as a way to lower ovarian cancer risk.

“I can guarantee you these conversations happen,” said Arif Kamal, chief patient officer for the American Cancer Society. “This is now an important group that has come out and said ‘We really do think these conversations should happen pretty regularly.’”

Here are answers to common questions about the recommendations, what’s involved with fallopian tube surgery called an opportunistic salpingectomy and whether more people should consider it.

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