I am 41 years old. Both my mother and sister have had breast cancer. My mother was 54 her first time, my sister 42. I have fibrocystic breasts and recently had a cyst removed. I also have several uterine fibroid tumors, one of them considered about 10 weeks. Because both uterine fibroid tumors and some types of breast cancer (all my mother's tumors) are caused by estrogen, my Gyn and I are talking about a hysterectomy with ovaries removed. This would take care of the uterine fibroids and the thought was that the decreased estrogen could possibly make my risk of breast cancer decreased. My question is if having my ovaries removed would reduce my risk of breast cancer and by what percentage? Also, what other problems would possibly be created by having a total hysterectomy at age 41 or 42? I heard that there would be an increased risk for heart disease, is that true? My Gyn said that he probably would not recommend HRT with my family history if I do get the hysterectomy. Would this mean that I would age too quickly? Thank you in advance for answering all these questions.
Dear mrscat, In general it seems that the longer a women has reproductive levels of hormones, the more prone she is to breast cancer. If she menstruates for more than 40 years, she seems to have a particularly high risk. Early removal of the ovaries could reduce the risk of breast cancer. I cannot give you a percentage as many other factors also play into the risk equation. Early removal of the ovaries can increase your risk for osteoporosis. This would also start menopause for you so associated symptoms while your body adjusts to differing hormone levels can occur. Symptoms of menopause (such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or night sweats) vary between individuals. Use of hormone replacement therapy given your family history would most likely be avoided. You would want to discuss with your doctor these risks, things you can do to help prevent problems(i.e. calcium supplements) and focus on a healthy lifestyle (Healthy diet, exercise).
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