Could delaying removal of ovaries prevent or delay sexual dysfunction in women who are at high risk for developing ovarian cancer? University of Chicago Medicine researcher Iris Romero, MD, MS, launched a study with researchers at other leading institutions to answer this question.

When women carry certain gene mutations like BRCA1, their chances of developing certain cancers, such as ovarian and breast cancer, increase by as much as 39 percent. Since current screening options for ovarian cancer don’t reliably catch the disease at a treatable stage, most high-risk patients are encouraged to undergo one surgery removing both their fallopian tubes and ovaries.

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Iris Romero, MD, MS

“This group of patients can’t rely on screening as a way to manage their cancer risk,” said Romero, associate professor of obstetrics/gynecology. “The goal of our study is to evaluate menopausal symptoms and sexual function in patients who choose either the traditional approach or approach of taking out only the fallopian tubes at the first surgery and then closer to the time of menopause doing a second surgery to remove the ovaries.”

Romero is UChicago Medicine’s primary investigator for the study, which is known as the WISP trial, or Women Choosing Surgical Prevention. Recent preclinical research data suggests ovarian cancer may begin in the fallopian tubes—which could mean removing the fallopian tubes may protect against ovarian cancer. Read more here!