Updated: 03/24/2014 4:59 PM
Created: 03/24/2014 4:58 PM WDIO.com
By: MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Chief Medical Writer
Women with a faulty breast cancer gene might face a greater chance of rare but deadly uterine tumors despite having their ovaries removed to lower their main cancer risks, doctors are reporting.
A study of nearly 300 women with bad BRCA1 genes found four cases of aggressive uterine cancers years after they had preventive surgery to remove their ovaries. That rate is 26 times greater than expected.
"One can happen. Two all of a sudden raises eyebrows," and four is highly suspicious, said Dr. Noah Kauff of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
His study, reported Monday at a cancer conference in Florida, is the first to make this link. Although it's not enough evidence to change practice now, doctors say women with these gene mutations should be told of the results and consider having their uterus removed along with their ovaries.
"It's important for women to have that information ... but I think it's too early to strongly recommend to patients that they undergo a hysterectomy" until more research confirms the finding, said Dr. Karen Lu, a specialist in women's cancers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
She plans to study similar patients at her own hospital, the nation's largest cancer center, to see if they, too, have higher uterine cancer risks.
About 1 in 400 women in the U.S., and more of eastern European descent, have faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes that greatly raise their risks for breast and ovarian cancer. Doctors advise them to be screened early and often for breast cancer, and to have their ovaries out as soon as they have finished having children to help prevent ovarian and breast cancer, because ovarian hormones affect breast cancer as well.
But the role of BRCA genes in uterine cancer isn't known, Kauff said.
His study looked at 1,200 women diagnosed with BRCA gene mutations since 1995 at Sloan Kettering. Doctors were able to track 525 of them for many years after they had surgery that removed their ovaries but left the uterus intact.
The vast majority of uterine cancers are low-risk types usually cured with surgery alone. Aggressive forms account for only 10 to 15 percent of cases but more than half of uterine cancer deaths.
Researchers were alarmed to see four of these cases among the 296 women with BRCA1 mutations. None were seen in women with BRCA2 mutations, Kauff said.
The study was discussed Monday at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology's annual meeting in Tampa, Fla.
Last year, the actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had preventive surgery to remove both breasts because of a BRCA1 mutation. Her mother had breast cancer and died of ovarian cancer, and her maternal grandmother also had ovarian cancer.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Proposal May Change Coverage For Hearing Device Used By Cloquet Baby
A hearing system clipped to a pink headband is the only way a 10-month-old baby in Cloquet can hear. The device is currently covered by insurance, but Medicare is proposing to change its classification and coverage. The Dowell family is worried other insurance companies will follow.
Sheriff: Man Attacked Homeowner before Fatal Shooting
Koochiching County Sheriff Brian Jespersen says a son who shot and killed an intruder was defending himself and his mother, who had been attacked by the man.
Update: Missing Hurley Man Found in Submerged Vehicle
Police say the body of a Hurley man missing for nearly a month has been found inside his submerged vehicle. Duane R. Jussila, 74, was reported missing on July 5. He had last been seen in Ironwood.
Former IRRRB Commissioner Gustafson Dies
Jim Gustafson, who represented Duluth in the state Senate and headed the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board for seven years, died July 23 at the age of 75. During his tenure, Gustafson helped complete Giant's Ridge Golf Course, negotiated the Northwest Airlines ticket reservation center, and cut Ironworld's subsidy by $1 million.
Folks Getting Ready For Christmas in July
It may be summer, but folks in Grand Rapids are getting ready for Christmas in July. Operation Christmas Child delivers shoe boxes full of goodies to kids around the world during the holidays. On Tuesday, people will get together at Grand Rapids Alliance Church to stuff shoe boxes and learn more about the project.