Is ovarian cancer still possible after a hysterectomy?
Answer From Tatnai Burnett, M.D.
Yes. You still have a risk of ovarian cancer or a type of cancer that acts just like it (peritoneal cancer) if you've had a hysterectomy.
Your risk depends on the type of hysterectomy you had:
- Partial hysterectomy or total hysterectomy. A partial hysterectomy removes your uterus, and a total hysterectomy removes your uterus and your cervix. Both procedures leave your ovaries intact, so you can still develop ovarian cancer.
Total hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy. This procedure removes your cervix and uterus as well as both ovaries and fallopian tubes. This makes ovarian cancer less likely to occur, but it does not remove all risk.
You still have a small risk of peritoneal cancer. The peritoneum is a covering that lines the abdominal organs and is close to the ovaries. Cells in the peritoneum are very similar to cells in the ovaries. When cancer happens in the peritoneum, it looks and acts like ovarian cancer.
If you're concerned about your risk of cancer, discuss it with your health care provider.
Tatnai Burnett, M.D.
April 12, 2022
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See more Expert Answers
- Hysterectomy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/hysterectomy. Accessed Feb. 17, 2022.
- Gershenson DM, et al. Malignant diseases of the ovary, fallopian tube and peritoneum. In: Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 17, 2022.
- AskMayoExpert. BRCA pathogenic variants (mutations) (adult). Mayo Clinic; 2019.