Medical Q&As

Hysterectomy - too old for it?

It looks like my mother may have cancer of the uterus. So far we have been told that she has an extensive "vascular mass" in her uterus and has a cyst on her ovary. She will soon have a CT scan and a hysteroscopy and she has been told that at the very least she will have a hysterectomy. She is very frightened at the thoughts of having such a large operation. My mother is 68 and has angina. She says she has never heard of a woman her age having such a procedure and surviving. My question is; how dangerous is the operation for someone her age and with a heart condition?

It would be unwise to launch into a definitive reply to your question when your mother has not been fully assessed. She is still waiting for the results of a CT scan and a hysteroscopy so I think it best to wait for the results of these tests before jumping to the conclusion that she has cancer. With regard to your concern about her heart and her fitness to undergo surgery, an anaesthetist would decide upon this matter prior to surgery. The procedure could be performed under spinal anaesthesia if she was considered to be unfit for a general anaesthetic. As for your motherís concern that she has never heard of anybody surviving a hysterectomy at her age I would simply say that her experience would be different to mine. I have had the experience of several older women surviving major surgery and enjoying good health for many years after. Your mother is clearly in a higher risk category than a woman half her age however, there is no reason to doubt the possibility of a good outcome for her. Pre-operative risk assessment and high quality postoperative support are the keys to a good outcome not her chronological age.