Quality of life in women at risk for ovarian cancer who have undergone risk-reducing oophorectomy

Gynecol Oncol. 2003 May;89(2):281-7. doi: 10.1016/s0090-8258(03)00072-6.


Objectives: Women at risk for ovarian cancer may consider risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO), and desire information regarding the health consequences of the procedure. We studied women who had undergone RRSO to assess quality of life after the procedure.

Methods: Women (n = 59) undergoing RRSO between 1 January 1997 and 31 July 2000 completed a questionnaire composed of the Symptom Checklist (SCL), the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36 Health Survey, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Impact of Events Scale, and the Sexual Functioning Questionnaire-Female.

Results: At a mean of 23.8 months after RRSO, overall quality of life was similar to that reported for the general population and for breast cancer survivors. Estrogen deprivation symptoms, particularly vaginal dryness (35.2%) and dyspareunia (27.7%), were commonly bothersome. Genital symptoms resulting in sexual dysfunction were the most significant predictors of satisfaction with surgery. The prevalence of depression (20.4%) was similar to that of the general population, but a significant proportion of the group (20.7%) continued to report significant ovarian cancer-specific worries despite surgery.

Conclusion: Vaginal symptoms are bothersome to women who have undergone RRSO, but overall health and psychological outcomes are not impaired. Although coital symptoms may not be a direct consequence of RRSO, they are the most important predictors of satisfaction. A proportion of women continue to report worries about ovarian cancer after surgery, and these women are at risk for psychological distress.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology
  • Ovariectomy / adverse effects*
  • Ovariectomy / psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology