Ovaries - to keep or not to keep? (If given a choice)

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Hello fellow warriors!

I am relatively new to all this and also new to the forum.

I've been recommended to have a hysterectomy due to Stage 1 cancer (microscopic) and, as I'm over 50, the surgeon has given me the choice as to whether I have my ovaries removed or not too.  No history of ovarian or breast cancer in the family.  Anyone else been given a choice and what helped you to decide?

Many thanks in advance.

  • Hello SB3

    I hope you don't mind me replying as I had a different type of cancer but hopefully this will bump your post and someone will see it and respond.

    My cancer was Womb cancer and I had my hysterectomy in April 2022. This included ovaries. I was told that it was best to remove them even though I was deemed early stage pre op. My post op pathology came back as still early stage but high grade and also LVSI. I was glad that my ovaries/fallopian tubes were taken during the surgery as it has reduced the risk of cancer coming back. I did not have any history of ovarian or breast cancer either. I figured at the time, they may as well take it all, rather than if something did come back then I would be put through further surgery.

    If it would help to talk through your decision with someone objective then perhaps consider giving the Support Line a call. The number is below and they are there from 8am-8pm daily.

    Hope this helps



    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Thanks so much Jane2511.  I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.  I had the same thought patterns to remove them to avoid any future risks/surgery.  Thank you.

  • Hi  and welcome to our group.

    I‘ve been out of action for a few days due to having surgery myself, so I’m sorry I wasn’t around to say hello when you joined us. Have you been able to come to a decision yet?

    I think it can be difficult when you are given a choice like this rather than being told that something specific will happen. I wasn’t given a choice, so when I had surgery (much more extensive than a hysterectomy) my ovaries were removed as part of that. 

    I have been through the situation of cervical cancer recurring, so my personal view is that I would do everything possible to minimise the risk of this because recurrence can be more difficult to deal with. It’s not possible to completely eliminate the chance of any cancer coming back, but for me it would be important to do as much as I could to prevent it happening. 

    I hope you’ll let us know how you’re getting on.

    Sarah xx

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    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hello SarahH21

    Firstly, I do hope that you are recovering well after your surgery - my thoughts are with you.  I'm also really sorry to hear the cervical cancer came back.  I just read your story and you've clearly been through a lot -  I hope you are doing well now. 

    Your reply means a lot so thank you very much for taking the time to respond.  My immediate reaction was to have my ovaries removed to reduce risks but I got thrown a bit of a curve ball when my endocrine consultant (who I'm seeing for ME/chronic fatigue, post covid jab) recommended I hold onto them for as long as possible to help with my (at times debilitating) fatigue.  Although i'm 52, I am still having regular periods.

    My surgeon said it was up to me to decide about my ovaries as I'm over 50, but in the end I asked him what he would recommend if I were his sister. Without hesitation, he immediately said have them removed as he is also a specialist in ovarian cancer so would recommend trying to reduce risks.  Not sure what the impact will be on my fatigue (but in my simple mind, cancer risks trump fatigue every time) but at least I will have taken as many preventative steps as possible.

    I have my op planned for the end of this month and that will include removal of my ovaries.

    Thanks once again for your input.

    All the best


  • Hi  

    Good to hear from you again, and I’m glad to hear you’ve got things in place for your op. I agree that cancer risks trump fatigue, and I would always want to feel I’d done my best to try and reduce my future risk. So long as you are happy with your decision that’s the main thing, but I guess it must have been a bit more of a difficult question for you with ME to factor into things.

    I’m recovering well from my latest surgery, thank you, and saw my surgeon today who is very pleased with how everything has gone. I was a difficult case for him due to my previous surgery but he has done a great job for which I’m very thankful. One final check up at his clinic in November and then I can be discharged from his care. 

    Please keep in touch and let us know how things are going, and feel free to ask any questions. Quite a number of ladies in the group have had a hysterectomy so will be able to share their experiences. All best wishes for your surgery. 

    Sarah xx

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    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Thanks Sarah, you and Jane2511 have been great - made me realise I am far from alone in going along this new journey.  Makes all the difference.  Thank you.

    I am pleased to hear things are going well for you - I hope it all goes smoothly and that you get discharged in November. 

    Long may our positive vibes propel us all forward.

    Thank you.


  • Yes, you need never feel alone going through something like this-there will always be someone in the community who can identify with all the thoughts and fears you have on a cancer diagnosis, and hopefully can give you some reassurance and moral support. 

    I’ve always tried to look for what my partner calls “silver linings” and having a positive viewpoint can definitely help along the way. Not that it’s possible to be relentlessly positive-I definitely dipped in that respect when my cancer recurred and that was a low point for me- but I did my best to pick myself up and get on with what had to be done. I think it’s served me well over the years. 

    I’m really glad you found it’s made a difference to be here with us.

    Sarah xx

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    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm