Possibility of ovarian cancer after removal of the ovaries

Last Modified: February 2, 2003

Share article


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I have had a complete hysterectomy with both ovaries and uterus removed 25 years ago. Yet I am experiencing severe bloating and unexplained weight gain. I need to know if a woman can get ovarian cancer if she has had a complete hysterectomy? 


Stephen C. Rubin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Removal of the ovaries usually completely eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer. Occasionally, a portion of ovary may remain due to extensive adhesions or scarring, and a tumor could develop in this "ovarian remnant." Also, cancers very similar to ovarian cancer can arise from the lining of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum, even after ovarian removal.

There are many different conditions, both serious and not so serious, that could explain your symptoms. Anyone with these symptoms should see their physician for an evaluation.

Article concludes decision to remove ovaries at time of hysterectomy should be made with caution

Mar 18, 2010 - The decision to perform prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy at the same time as hysterectomy should be taken with caution as it may do more harm than good, especially in women not at high risk for development of ovarian or breast cancers, according to a review published in the March issue of the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.

I Wish You Knew

How cancer patients have changed my life

View More

Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.

OncoLink OncoPilot

Facing a new cancer diagnosis or changing the course of your current treatment? Let our cancer nurses help you through!

Learn More