Ovarian Cancer Prevention
The first step in preventing ovarian cancer is recognizing your personal risk factors for the condition and controlling them, if possible. Controllable risk factors include use of fertility drugs or hormone replacement therapy. The second step is engaging in behaviors that may protect you against the disease. For example, women with a family history of ovarian cancer may have a prophylactic oophorectomy.
Doctors cannot always explain why one woman will get ovarian cancer and another woman will not. However, research scientists have studied general patterns of cancer in the population to learn what may increase a person's chances of developing it.
Anything that increases a person's chances of developing a disease is called a risk factor; anything that decreases a person's chances is called a protective factor. Preventing ovarian cancer means avoiding the risk factors and increasing the protective factors that can be controlled so that the chances of developing the condition decrease.
The first step in ovarian cancer prevention is knowing what your risk factors are for the disease. Some can be avoided, but many cannot.
Studies have identified the following ovarian cancer risk factors:
- Family history of ovarian cancer
- Age over 50
- No history of childbirth
- Personal history of breast cancer or colon cancer
- Use of fertility drugs
- Use of talc in the genital area
- Use of hormone replacement therapy.
(Click Ovarian Cancer Causes for more information on these risk factors.)