Objective: Prophylactic oophorectomy is often recommended concurrent with hysterectomy for benign disease. The optimal age for this recommendation in women at average risk for ovarian cancer has not been determined.
Methods: Using published age-specific data for absolute and relative risk, both with and without oophorectomy, for ovarian cancer, coronary heart disease, hip fracture, breast cancer, and stroke, a Markov decision analysis model was used to estimate the optimal strategy for maximizing survival for women at average risk of ovarian cancer. For each 5-year age group from 40 to 80 years, 4 strategies were compared: ovarian conservation or oophorectomy, and use of estrogen therapy or nonuse. Outcomes, as proportion of women alive at age 80 years, were measured. Sensitivity analyses were performed, varying both relative and absolute risk estimates across the range of reported values.
Results: Ovarian conservation until age 65 benefits long-term survival for women undergoing hysterectomy for benign disease. Women with oophorectomy before age 55 have 8.58% excess mortality by age 80, and those with oophorectomy before age 59 have 3.92% excess mortality. There is sustained, but decreasing, benefit until the age of 75, when excess mortality for oophorectomy is less than 1%. These results were unchanged following multiple sensitivity analyses and were most sensitive to the risk of coronary heart disease.
Conclusion: Ovarian conservation until at least age 65 benefits long-term survival for women at average risk of ovarian cancer when undergoing hysterectomy for benign disease.