Ovarian Cancer Prevention

Protective Factors in Ovarian Cancer Prevention

As we learn more about ovarian cancer causes, we may also learn how to reduce the chances of getting it. Factors that may reduce a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer include:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Birth control
  • Tubal ligation or hysterectomy
  • Prophylactic oophorectomy.
Breastfeeding and Birth Control
Some studies have shown that breastfeeding and taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives) may decrease a woman's likelihood of developing ovarian cancer. These factors decrease the number of times a woman ovulates, and studies suggest that reducing the number of ovulations during a woman's lifetime may help prevent ovarian cancer.
Tubal Ligation and Hysterectomy
Women who have had an operation that prevents pregnancy (called tubal ligation) or who have had their uterus and cervix removed (a hysterectomy) also have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. In addition, some evidence suggests that reducing the amount of fat in the diet may play a role in ovarian cancer prevent.
Prophylactic Oophorectomy
Women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer due to a family history of the disease may consider having their ovaries removed before cancer develops (called a prophylactic oophorectomy). This procedure usually, but not always, provides protection against ovarian cancer. The risks that are associated with this surgery and its side effects, however, should be carefully considered.

Final Thoughts on Preventing Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer prevention begins with avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors. However, although many risk factors can be avoided, it is important to keep in mind that avoiding risk factors does not guarantee that you will not get ovarian cancer.
In addition, most people with a particular risk factor do not actually get the disease. Some people are more sensitive than others to factors that can cause a specific medical condition. Your healthcare provider can provide additional information about methods of preventing ovarian cancer that might be effective for you.
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Ovarian Cancer Information

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