Reducing your risk for fallopian tube cancer
You may lower your risk of developing fallopian tube cancer by doing the following.
Talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has both benefits and risks. Studies show that HRT may increase the risk of fallopian tube cancer. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking HRT.
Learn about protective factors
Some drugs and lifestyle choices may help to protect you from developing fallopian tube cancer.
Birth control pills
Research shows that birth control pills (oral contraceptives) lower the risk for fallopian tube cancer. The risk is lower after using birth control pills for only a few months, but using them for more than 5 years provides the greatest risk reduction. This protection lasts for up to 30 years after you stop taking birth control pills.
Having been pregnant lowers the risk of developing fallopian tube cancer. The more times you’ve been pregnant, the greater the protective effect.
Tubal ligation is surgery that cuts or blocks the fallopian tubes. Having this surgery lowers a woman’s lifetime risk of developing fallopian tube cancer.
A hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. It may also lower the risk of developing fallopian tube cancer, but not as well as tubal ligation. Hysterectomy seems to lower the risk when the fallopian tubes and ovaries are also removed (called salpingo-oophorectomy).
Some studies suggest that breastfeeding slightly lowers the risk of developing fallopian tube cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower the risk.
Find out if you’re at high risk for fallopian tube cancer
Some women can have a higher than average risk for fallopian tube cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk. If you are at higher than average risk, you may need a personal plan for testing.
A risk reduction bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO), or prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy, may be an option for women who have a very high risk of developing fallopian tube cancer, including those with a BRCA gene mutation or a family history of fallopian tube cancer in 2 or more relatives. This surgery removes the ovaries and fallopian tubes. The surgeon may also remove the uterus during this surgery. Women who have an RRSO will experience treatment-induced menopause and can no longer have children. For this reason, this surgery is offered to women between the ages of 35 and 40 years or to women who no longer want to have children.
At present, RRSO is the best preventive strategy to lower the risk for fallopian tube cancer in women with BRCA gene mutations. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of RRSO.
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