Minh Tung Phung, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Research Investigator

Project Title

Risk-Reducing Salpingectomy for Ovarian Cancer Precision Prevention

Named Award

Richard C. Devereaux Outstanding Young Investigator Award

Position

Research Investigator

Institution

The Regents of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

My “Why”

When I worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Vietnam, I saw cancer patients suffering from treatment toxicity and others who could not afford treatment. This experience motivated me to become a cancer epidemiologist to conduct research to help prevent cancer and enhance health equity in cancer care.

My Mission

Preventing cancer is more effective than treating it. Given the severity of ovarian cancer, prevention is critically important. The focus of my project is optimizing ovarian cancer prevention, which ultimately will reduce the number of ovarian cancer cases.

Research Overview

Preventing ovarian cancer is very important given that it is a deadly disease. In the general population (not those who carry high-risk genetic mutations), about 1.3 women out of 100 (1.3%) will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime. However, there is a range of lifetime risk; some people have a lifetime risk as low as 0.1%, while others have a risk as high as 5% or more. Because most ovarian cancers start in the Fallopian tubes, tube removal is recommended if a woman is done having children and is having pelvic surgery for another reason (removal of the uterus, tubes tied, etc.). However, most people at risk of ovarian cancer do not have pelvic surgery and therefore do not have their tubes removed.

This project aims (1) determine an actionable risk threshold for risk-reducing surgery to prevent ovarian cancer, and (2) identify people with a high lifetime risk of ovarian cancer who should undergo risk-reducing surgery.   

Why Funding Matters

This funding from the [Prevent Cancer Foundation] will support my research exploring the perspectives of ovarian cancer survivors and those at risk to determine the level of risk that warrants undergoing surgery to prevent this disease.

This research will facilitate my future studies on exploring the perspectives of health care providers, health economists and insurers on this topic.

My Hope

I hypothesize that ovarian cancer survivors and people at risk of ovarian cancer will generate a consensus about what risk level warrants surgical intervention to prevent the disease. The findings from this study will contribute to the realization of a surgical approach to preventing ovarian cancer.