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Kentucky: higher rates of ovarian cancer evident when excluding women with prior salpingo-oophorectomy

Investigators from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health collaborated with colleagues in clinical oncology and the Kentucky Department for Public Health to better understand the incidence of ovarian cancer in Kentucky. Their findings appear in the journal Diagnostics.

Noting that current reported incidence rates for ovarian cancer may significantly underestimate the true rate because of the inclusion of women in the calculations who are not at risk for ovarian cancer due to prior benign salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes), the investigators considered prior SO to more realistically estimate risk for ovarian cancer. They used Kentucky Health Claims Data, International Classification of Disease 9 (ICD-9) codes, Current Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes, and Kentucky Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Data to identify women who have undergone SO in Kentucky, and these women were removed from the at-risk pool in order to re-assess incidence rates to more accurately represent ovarian cancer risk.

The protective effect of SO on the population was determined on an annual basis for ages 5–80+ using data from the years 2009–2013. The corrected age-adjusted rates of ovarian cancer that considered SO ranged from 33 percent to 67 percent higher than age-adjusted rates from the standard population.

Correction of incidence rates for ovarian cancer by accounting for women with prior SO gives a better understanding of risk for this disease faced by women. The rates of ovarian cancer were substantially higher when SO was taken into consideration than estimates from the standard population.

Photo of Tom TuckerPhoto of Quan ChenInvestigators on the project include Dr. Quan Chen, Cancer Biostatistics, and Dr. Thomas C. Tucker, associate professor of Epidemiology and director of the Kentucky Cancer Registry.