Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer.
Avoiding cancerrisk factors such as smoking, being overweight, and lack of exercise may help prevent certain cancers. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.
Note: Some citations in the text of this section are followed by a level of evidence. The PDQ editorial boards use a formal ranking system to help the reader judge the strength of evidence linked to the reported results of a therapeutic strategy. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Levels of Evidence for more information.)
Treatment options for patients with all stages of ovarian epithelial cancer have consisted of surgery followed by chemotherapy.
Patients diagnosed with stage III and...
The following risk factors may increase the risk of ovarian cancer:
Family history of ovarian cancer
A woman whose mother or sister had ovarian cancer has an increased risk of ovarian cancer. A woman with two or more relatives with ovarian cancer also has an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The risk of ovarian cancer is increased in women who have inherited certain changes in the following genes:
BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Genes that are linked to hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC; Lynch syndrome).
Hormone replacement therapy
The use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause increases the risk of ovarian cancer. The longer estrogen replacement therapy is used, the greater the risk may be. It is not clear whether the risk of ovarian cancer is increased with the use of HRT that has both estrogen and progestin.
The use of fertilitydrugs may be linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The use of talc may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Talcum powder dusted on the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) may reach the ovaries by entering the vagina.
Having too much body fat, especially during the teenage years, is linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Being obese is linked to an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer.
The following protective factors may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer:
The use of oral contraceptives ("the pill") lowers ovarian cancer risk. The longer oral contraceptives are used, the lower the risk may be. The decrease in risk may last up to 25 years after a woman has stopped using oral contraceptives.
Taking oral contraceptives increases the risk of blood clots. This risk is higher in women who also smoke. There may be a slight increase in a woman's risk of breast cancer during the time she is taking oral contraceptives. This risk decreases over time.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are linked to a decreased risk of ovarian cancer. Ovulation stops or occurs less often in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some experts believe that women who ovulate less often have a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.
Bilateral tubal ligation or hysterectomy
The risk of ovarian cancer is decreased in women who have a bilateraltubal ligation (surgery to close both fallopian tubes) or a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus).