Fallopian Tube removal may prevent certain ovarian cancers

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 4:21 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - In a woman, the fallopian tubes are located on each side of the uterus, and just above the ovaries. During the reproductive years they are a vessel for transporting a woman’s egg to the uterus.

When women are done with having children, they can opt to have their tubes removed.

A decade ago, researchers discovered something remarkable comparing those women, to those who kept their fallopian tubes after fertility.

“Women in the same age group, the incidence of developing ovarian cancer in the cohort,” says Dr. Peter Lim, a Gynecology Oncologist. “The women who had this procedure, their incidence of developing ovarian cancer, the predicted, was much lower.”

What researchers would eventually surmise, the most common form of ovarian cancer begins in the fallopian tubes--not in the ovaries as once thought.

Studies show there may be a six-year lag time between the cancer developing in the tubes, and the time it gets to the ovaries.

Dr. Lim says these days women who are done having children may be asked if they want their tubes removed--especially if they are having gynecologic surgery.

“Fibroids, pelvic pain, if for any reason you are going to have a gynecologic procedure,” he says, “We are advocating, there really is no reason they should be there. You should remove the fallopian tubes.”

Dr. Lim says the ovaries can stay put which means fewer side effects like heart disease and bone loss.

There are some ovarian cancers caused by genetics, specifically the BRCA gene. These patients only make up about 20% of all ovarian cancers.

The question is women who carry the BRCA gene which increases their risk of ovarian cancer, should they get their fallopian tubes removed? And will that decrease their risk of ovarian cancer? Or do they still need to get their ovaries removed?

Dr. Lim says the jury is still out.