A review of all patients with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer for five years (1989-1993) in the military hospital, the public health hospital and the two private hospitals in Anchorage, Alaska was conducted. Fifty-eight women were found with a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer. These charts were reviewed to determine the incidence of prior hysterectomy with preservation of ovaries. Of the fifty-eight, thirteen (22%) had prior hysterectomies with the ovaries left in place. Review of the literature supported this statistic in similar studies. Ovarian cancer has such a poor prognosis that prevention is in order. The data demonstrate that ovarian cancer could have been prevented in a significant number of these patients had they had bilateral oophorectomies at the time of hysterectomy. With the relative safety of hormonal replacement therapy, a significant way to prevent ovarian cancer is available--bilateral oophorectomy.