Women who have had a borderline ovarian tumour removed stand a good chance of becoming pregnant in the future, according to a study published by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. 

Damage to the ovaries can cause infertility, so it’s natural for women with borderline ovarian tumours to wonder whether they will be able to get pregnant in the future. Happily this study shows that many women are still able to get pregnant naturally after surgery, with a small proportion requiring medical assistance such as IVF. Earlier studies had focused on the therapeutic outcome of the treatment, rather than its impact on future fertility. 

The study was performed in Sweden, where around 700 women a year are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and around 20% of these tumours are borderline tumours. Up to a third of such tumours occur in women under 40. 

Fertility-sparing surgery leaves the ovaries and uterus intact while removing the tumour. This allows for natural and medically-assisted fertility to occur, but it does increase the risk of relapse. The study gives women of fertile age more information, helping them to make a more informed decision about their health and reproductive future. 

The study’s last author Kenny Rodriguez-Wallberg said:

“In the choice of treatment for borderline ovarian tumours, safety and the effectiveness for future childbearing must be taken into account,”