Skip to content

Ovarian Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Ovarian Cancer Prevention

    continued...

    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 bilateral tubal ligation (surgery to close both fallopian tubes) or a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus).

    Prophylactic oophorectomy

    Some women who have a high risk of ovarian cancer may choose to have a prophylactic oophorectomy (surgery to remove both ovaries when there are no signs of cancer). This includes women who have inherited certain changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes or in the genes linked to hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). (See the PDQ summary on Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer for more information.)

    It is very important to have a cancer risk assessment and counseling before making this decision. These and other factors should be discussed:

    • Early menopause: The drop in estrogen levels caused by removing the ovaries can cause early menopause. Symptoms of menopause include the following: These symptoms may not be the same in all women. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be needed to lessen these symptoms.
    • Risk of ovarian cancer in the peritoneum: Women who have had a prophylactic oophorectomy continue to have a small risk of ovarian cancer in the peritoneum (thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen). This may occur if ovarian cancer cells had already spread to the peritoneum before the surgery or if some ovarian tissue remains after surgery.

    Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.

    Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Some cancer prevention trials are conducted with healthy people who have not had cancer but who have an increased risk for cancer. Other prevention trials are conducted with people who have had cancer and are trying to prevent another cancer of the same type or to lower their chance of developing a new type of cancer. Other trials are done with healthy volunteers who are not known to have any risk factors for cancer.

    1|2|3

    Today on WebMD

    Ovarian cancer illustration
    What are the symptoms?
    doctory with x-ray
    Get to know the Symptoms.
     
    cancer cell
    HPV is the top cause. Find out more.
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
    QUIZ
    Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Screening Tests for Women
    Slideshow
    Graphic of ovaries within reproductive system
    VIDEO
     
    Ovarian Cancer Marker
    VIDEO
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    Healthy meal with salmon
    Article