Beyond the Stories

Opportunistic Salpingectomy as a Strategy for
Ovarian Cancer Prevention

Key Messages

  1. Most ovarian cancers start in the fallopian tube and not on the ovary.
  2. We can prevent ovarian cancer by removing fallopian tubes during another surgery where the tubes are accessible.
  3. Research has shown that opportunistic salpingectomy (removal of fallopian tubes is) safe and effective at preventing ovarian cancer.

What you can do today?

If you do not plan to have any future pregnancies, ask your doctor about removing your fallopian tubes if you are having a: 

  • Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) 
  • Tubal ligation (having tubes tied to prevent future pregnancy) 

Talk to your surgeon about removing your fallopian tubes if you are having other surgery in the lower abdomen, such as:

  • Colorectal surgery 
  • Having your appendix removed 

About the Patient Partner and Researchers

Justine Greene, Patient Partner

Justine Greene is an ovarian cancer advocate. With the passing of her grandmother and Mother both from the disease, her mission has been to get the word out to continue the great work of OvCaRe, and support women in making the best decisions for themselves and their families when faced with a family story such as hers. With the passing of her mother in 2010, she and her son Parker, have been speaking up on the importance of heeding your own health and importance of honour those who have done such important work for all our benefit.

Dr. Janice Kwon, MD, FRCSC, MPH

Dr. Janice Kwon is a Gynecologic Oncologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UBC. She completed her training in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Toronto, Masters in Public Health at Harvard, and post-doctorate at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Kwon is currently the Program Director for the Gynecologic Oncology subspecialty training program at UBC and the Gynecology Surgical Tumour Group Chair for BC Cancer. She serves on the Committee on Economic Analysis for the Canadian Cancer Trials Group.

Janice chose to get an opportunistic salpingectomy because of her perspective as a health care provider and her interest in ovarian cancer research. 

Dr. Gillian Hanley, PhD

Dr. Gillian Hanley, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia. She is a CIHR New Investigator and Michael Smith Foundation Scholar. She obtained her BSc at Dalhousie University where she did a combined Honours in Biology and Economics, followed by a MA at McMaster University in Economics with a concentration in health economics. More recently, she completed her doctorate studies at UBC in the School of Population and Public Health. Her research focus combines her substantive interest in women’s health with her training in economics, health services research, and epidemiology to answer questions related to gynecologic cancer, primarily ovarian cancer prevention, as well as healthy reproduction and pregnancy.

Click here for the research

Question: Is opportunistic salpingectomy associated with fewer than expected ovarian cancers?

Findings: This population-based cohort study included 25 889 individuals who underwent opportunistic salpingectomy and 32 080 individuals who underwent 1 of the control surgical procedures (hysterectomy alone or tubal ligation). There were no serous ovarian cancers among individuals in the opportunistic salpingectomy group, which was significantly lower than the age-adjusted expected rate of 5.27 serous cancers. 

Meaning: The OS group had significantly fewer serous ovarian cancers than expected, suggesting that OS is associated with reduced ovarian cancer risk.

Thank you to Michael Smith Health Research BC for Funding this project through the Reach program.
Thank you to BC Cancer Foundation, BC Women’s Health Foundation, UBC Faculty of Medicine, and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for supporting this project.