A controlled study of mental distress and somatic complaints after risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy in women at risk for hereditary breast ovarian cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Apr;113(1):128-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2008.12.024. Epub 2009 Jan 29.


Objectives: Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) provides effective protection against ovarian cancer in BRCA mutation carriers and in women at risk for hereditary breast ovarian cancer, but little is known about non-oncologic morbidity after the procedure. We explored mental distress and somatic complaints in women after RRSO compared to controls from the general population.

Methods: 503 women from hereditary breast ovarian cancer families who had undergone RRSO after genetic counseling received a mailed questionnaire. 361 (71%) responded and 338 (67%) delivered complete data (cases). Controls were five randomly allocated age-matched controls per case (N=1690) from the population-based Norwegian Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT-2).

Results: Mean age of cases and controls was 54.6 years at survey. Mean time since surgery was 5.3 years (median 6.0). Compared to controls, the RRSO group had more palpitations (p=0.02), constipation (p=0.01), pain and stiffness (p=0.02), osteoporosis (p=0.02) and musculoskeletal disease (p=0.01) even after adjustments for demographic factors including use of hormonal replacement therapy. The RRSO group had lower levels of depression (p<0.001) and total mental distress (p=0.002) compared to controls. In multivariate linear regression analyses, RRSO was associated with lower levels of depression (p<0.001) and total mental distress (p=0.002).

Conclusions: In this controlled observational study, we found more somatic morbidity such as osteoporosis, palpitations, constipation, musculoskeletal disease and pain and stiffness but lower levels of mental distress among women who had undergone RRSO compared to controls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Ovariectomy / psychology*