You cannot control some things that put you at risk for ovarian cancer, such as your family history or inheriting gene changes. But you can make some personal choices that lower your risk of cancer and other diseases.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Be active. Talk with your doctor about what kinds of activity and how much activity would be good for you.
If you are at high risk for ovarian cancer
If you are concerned about your risk for ovarian cancer, talk with your doctor. You may be a good candidate for taking birth control pills. Taking birth control pills for 5 years has been shown to reduce
ovarian cancer risk by 50%.9 The protection lasts for
many years after the pills are taken. But birth control pills have been linked
to a slight increase in breast cancer and may have other health risks, so talk
with your doctor about the risks and benefits before taking birth control
If you are at a very high risk because of your family history, you may want to have gene testing. Women at very high risk because of inherited genes may want to have surgery to remove their ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is usually done between the ages of 35 and 40, or when women are finished having children. Having this surgery greatly reduces a woman's risk for ovarian cancer, but it will cause a woman to start menopause early, which may have other risks.
For more information, see:
- Should I Have a BRCA Gene Test?
- Should I Have My Ovaries Removed to Prevent Ovarian Cancer?