Could Ovary Removal be Linked to an Increased Risk of Colon Cancer?

Key Takeaways:

  • A study noted a potential correlation between ovary removal and increased risk of colon cancer, with a 30 percent increase in diagnosed risk in women who had their ovaries removed.
  • The removal of the ovaries might lead to increased interactions with the healthcare system, which could result in more frequent cancer screenings and possibly inflated colon cancer rates.
  • The reduction of sex hormones due to ovary removal could affect the risk of developing colon cancer, given potential links observed between hormone replacement therapy and colon cancer risk. However, this potential link isn’t fully understood or conclusively proven.
  • Researchers considered factors such as diabetes, smoking, or heavy drinking, which are known to increase colon cancer risk. Despite this, a higher cancer risk was noted in women who’d had both ovaries removed or undergone a possible oophorectomy, compared to those who’d had one ovary removed.
  • Women are advised to weigh the pros and cons when considering ovary removal and focus on controllable risk factors for colon cancer prevention. This includes maintaining a healthy, primarily plant-based diet, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking.

A comprehensive study seems to suggest a potential correlation between the removal of ovaries and a higher incidence of colon cancer.

When we look at approximately 196,000 Swedish women who had their ovaries removed, the diagnosed colon cancer risk presented a 30 percent increase compared to the average risk for women of similar age.

The Removal Procedure Was for Noncancerous Conditions

Importantly, the ovaries were removed as a result of noncancerous conditions, therefore a history of ovarian cancer cannot justify the results. But a word of caution: this does not definitively conclude that ovary removal directly contributes to an increased risk of colon cancer.

Various important factors – such as the women’s weight, dietary habits or the usage of hormone therapy – were not taken into account.

Possible Reasons for Increased Risk

Interestingly, the removal of the ovaries could result in more frequent contact with the healthcare system, potentially leading to higher rates of cancer screening. This fact might artificially inflate the detected rates of colon cancer among these women.

The Role of Sex Hormones in Colon Cancer Development

Study lead Dr. Josefin Segelman of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm makes the case that the removal of ovaries can plausibly have an effect on the risk of colon cancer development due to the reduction in sex hormones. After all, various studies have discovered a potential link between hormone replacement therapy post-menopause, birth control pills, and a reduced risk of colon cancer.

In lab environments, estrogen has been observed to stop the growth of colon cancer cells. However, the role of hormones in colon cancer is still not fully understood. Ultimately, the study merely shows a possible link – it does not deliver definitive evidence.

About The Study

This study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, was based on records of women who had gynecologic surgery between 1965 and 2011. The surgeries involved removing one or both ovaries, or a “possible” oophorectomy – a procedure often done alongside a hysterectomy.

Consideration of Other Factors

The researchers did adjust for other factors such as a diagnosis of diabetes, health problems associated with smoking or heavy drinking — habits that are linked to a heightened colon cancer risk. Despite this, when those factors were considered, women who’d had both ovaries removed or who had undergone a possible oophorectomy generally had a higher cancer risk than women who’d had just one ovary removed.

Advice for Women

It is important that every woman considers the pros and cons when faced with the decision of ovary removal. As far as colon cancer prevention is concerned, consider focusing on the risk factors you can control.

Eating a healthy, mainly plant-based diet, limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking are all within one’s control and are recommended.

More information

For further information on colon cancer, follow the provided link.


Greetings from the trails and tracks! I'm Tim, but most folks know me as TJ. I've spent the last 5 years diving deep into the world of content writing, with a particular penchant for nutrition and the intricate science behind it. Every bite we take, every nutrient we consume, tells a unique story – and I'm here to unravel it for you.Beyond my keyboard, you'll often find me on a winding hiking trail or pushing my limits on a long-distance run. These pursuits not only keep me fit but constantly remind me of the vital role nutrition plays in fueling our passions and adventures.Through my writings, I aim to bridge the gap between complex nutritional science and everyday eating habits. Whether you're looking for the latest research updates, practical diet tips, or stories from the running track, I'm committed to serving you content that's as engaging as it is enlightening.So, lace up your shoes, grab a healthy snack, and join me in this exploration of food, science, and the great outdoors. Together, we'll journey towards better health and incredible experiences!
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