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Legacy in the News: Legacy Cancer Institute Announces New Recommendation for Ovarian Cancer Prevention

First program in Oregon to recommend certain women consider fallopian tube removal to prevent ovarian cancer

KGW NewsChannel 8, KATU News, Portland Business Journal

February 8, 2013

Ovarian cancer is one of the most feared cancer diagnoses as nearly 70% of cases have no cure, no effective screening test, and until now, no early prevention mechanism. It is also the most lethal form because it is usually discovered after it has spread and is no longer treatable. The good news is that many scientists, including Legacy Cancer Institute pathologist Ann Smith Sehdev, MD, have found that proactively removing the fallopian tubes during routine gynecological and abdominal procedures can prevent or significantly reduce a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer. That is why Legacy Cancer Institute has announced that it is formally recommending physicians include Fallopian tube removal during hysterectomies, tubal ligations, and other routine abdominal procedures

This potentially lifesaving recommendation was made after researchers across the country discovered that serous carcinoma, the most deadly and common form of ovarian cancer, actually originates in the Fallopian tubes and then later travels to the ovary. Therefore, by proactively removing the fallopian tubes, this devastating diagnosis can be prevented and this could greatly reduce the number of deaths from this most deadly form of cancer.

“This is something so simple that could save a lot of lives,” said Dr. Nathalie Johnson, the Medical Director of the Legacy Cancer Institute.

"It’s because researchers have found the tubes attract cancer cells which can eventually encase the ovary," she says. "You could actually find a normal ovary wrapped in cancer and realize the cancer was starting in the fallopian tube and not the ovary."

The recommendation is supported by research on thousands of women. Dr. Smith Sehdev has studied the connection for more than a decade.

“We think this could cut the most common type of ovarian cancer by up to 70 percent,” she says.

The Legacy Cancer Institute is the first program in Oregon to make this recommendation.

“We’d like to raise awareness and hopefully it can become the standard here in Oregon and across the country,” concluded Johnson.

Legacy Cancer Institute also recommends women who have strong family history or a known genetic mutation predisposing them to breast or ovarian cancer also consider this risk reducing procedure. This recommendation is already being adopted as a standard practice throughout Canada and it is the hope of Dr. Johnson, Dr. Sehdev and Duncan Neilson, MD, chief of Legacy Women’s Services that it will become so in Oregon and across the US as well.