Your Health: Jun. 3, 2002

The Surgical Solution

Often the best way to prevent cancer is also the most wrenching. Researchers report that women with the so-called breast-cancer gene can cut their risk of breast and ovarian cancers 75% if they have their ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed. Harsh medicine indeed, but women with the genetic mutation face a 50% to 85% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and a 15% to 40% risk of ovarian cancer. Removing the ovaries helps prevent breast cancer by stemming the flow of estrogen, which spurs tumor growth; the procedure helps prevent ovarian cancer by eliminating the organs, though tumor...

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