Objective: Classification of menopause status often relies on self-report and is centrally important to research and clinical practice. This study was designed to assess the validity of self-reported hysterectomy and oophorectomy.
Methods: A validation study of self-reported surgical menopause was conducted using survey data and electronic medical records from women enrolled in the Breast Cancer Screening Program within an integrated group practice in Washington State. Sensitivity of self-reported surgical history was estimated from questionnaire data among women with a history of hysterectomy (n = 1,935) and/or oophorectomy (n = 1,010) per medical records. Positive predictive values were quantified by reviewing medical records for a subset of women who self-reported a hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy (n = 122).
Results: Women self-reported hysterectomy history with great accuracy (sensitivity, 91%; positive predictive value, 97%) but were less accurate in reporting oophorectomy history (sensitivity of bilateral oophorectomy, 64%; positive predictive value, 100% and 73% for bilateral and unilateral oophorectomy, respectively). Among women self-reporting a unilateral oophorectomy, 19% had had both ovaries removed.
Conclusions: Self-report is a valid data collection tool for hysterectomy history, but care should be taken in querying for and interpreting self-reported oophorectomy history for determining menopause status.