Risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) is an effective strategy to prevent pelvic serous carcinoma for women at high risk of developing ovarian cancer; however, it results in premature menopause. Data is lacking to adequately counsel these women about potential effects of premature menopause on cognition and quality of life.
A prospective study in premenopausal women at high risk of ovarian cancer to determine changes in cognition over time after RRSO and the impact of hormone therapy (HT) on cognition. Participants were surveyed before and after surgery using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive questionnaire and questions regarding domains of wellbeing at 6, 12 and 18 months. Data was tested for changes across time using mixed model regression and logistic regression.
Fifty-seven women were included. Sixty-three percent of participants used HT. At 6 months postoperatively, perceived cognitive impairment declined by 5.5 points overall (4.4 in non-HT users and 6 in HT users), P = 0.003. The other domains of cognition assessed did not change significantly over time and the use of HT did not impact scores. Sleep disruption was common in this cohort and was not mitigated by HT. Self-reported depression improved after RRSO (P = 0.004).
Women at high risk of ovarian cancer who choose RRSO may experience declines in cognition within the first 6 months of surgical menopause. HT may cause small declines in perceived cognitive impairment at 6 months after RRSO. Women can expect more sleep disruption after menopause, which is not mitigated by HT.