Skip to content

    Ovarian Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Ovarian Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI] - Ovarian Cancer Prevention

    Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer.

    Avoiding cancer risk factors may help prevent certain cancers. Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. 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.

    Recommended Related to Ovarian Cancer

    Understanding Ovarian Cancer -- Prevention

    Depending on your stage of life and risk for ovarian cancer, you should discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of using birth control pills. Low-dose birth control pills are considered protective. If you have completed your family, consider a tubal ligation, which has been reported to lower risk of ovarian cancer. Some studies suggest that women who take hormone replacement therapy after menopause may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. If you are at high risk for ovarian cancer, ask your...

    Read the Understanding Ovarian Cancer -- Prevention article > >

    The following are risk factors for 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.

    Inherited risk

    The risk of ovarian cancer is increased in women who have inherited certain changes in the BRCA1, BRCA2, or other genes.

    The risk of ovarian cancer is also increased in women who have certain inherited syndromes that include:

    • Familial site-specific ovarian cancer syndrome.
    • Familial breast/ovarian cancer syndrome.
    • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC; Lynch syndrome).

    Hormone replacement therapy

    The use of estrogen -only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause is linked to a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who are taking HRT or have taken HRT within the past 3 years. The risk of ovarian cancer increases the longer a woman uses estrogen-only HRT. When hormone therapy is stopped, the risk of ovarian cancer decreases over time.

    It is not clear whether there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer with the use of HRT that has both estrogen and progestin.

    Talc

    The use of talc may cause a small increase in 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.

    Weight and height

    Being overweight or obese during the teenage years, and gaining 40 or more pounds during adulthood is linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Being obese is linked to an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer. Being tall (5'8" or taller) may also be linked to a slight increase in the risk of ovarian cancer.

    1 | 2 | 3
    1 | 2 | 3
    Next Article:

    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