It is not currently possible to prevent ovarian cancer. But several factors can increase or decrease a person’s risk, such as taking oral contraceptives.
Ovarian cancer involves abnormal cells growing uncontrollably in the ovaries, fallopian tube, or peritoneum, the tissue that covers most organs in the abdomen and lines the abdominal wall.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
Many different health conditions can cause these symptoms. Several tests, such as pelvic exams and blood tests, can help doctors diagnose the condition.
Read on to learn about risk factors, protective factors, and the outlook for ovarian cancer.
The CDC notes that these factors have a relatively small influence on the risk of ovarian cancer and that most people who develop this disease are not in a high-risk group.
Anyone with one or more of these risk factors should speak with a doctor about their risk and possible testing.
There are currently
It is not always possible to avoid risk factors for ovarian cancer, such as a family history. But being aware of these factors could encourage a person to be more vigilant about the symptoms and contact a doctor early.
Because obesity is a risk factor, maintaining a moderate weight could be one way to reduce the risk. Having a healthy, balanced diet and regularly exercising is a good approach to maintaining a moderate weight.
A “protective factor” is anything that reduces a person’s risk of cancer. According to the
Some women with a high risk of ovarian cancer may choose to have a
The American Cancer Society reports that postmenopausal women with BRCA gene mutations can reduce their risk of ovarian cancer by
If a person undergoes this surgery before menopause, it results in infertility and early menopause. In this case, doctors tend to only recommend it for people who do not wish to conceive.
After the procedure, there is still a small risk of ovarian cancer developing in the peritoneum.
People should discuss their risk and the relative benefits of protective factors with a doctor before making a decision.
The outlook for someone with ovarian cancer depends on several factors, including how early doctors detected it. Doctors only detect this cancer at an early stage in
The outlook also depends on the location and spread of the tumor.
Most people with ovarian cancer live for at least 5 years after the diagnosis. According to the
It is worth keeping in mind that all survival rates are based on averages of past data, and they may not take into account recent advances in detection or treatment. And factors specific to each person can play an important role.
A person with ovarian cancer has several treatment options, depending on factors such as the severity of the tumor. Doctors may suggest surgery to remove cancerous tissues and chemotherapy to kill remaining cancerous cells that are difficult to remove through surgery.
Learn more about ovarian cancer treatment here.
Anyone with symptoms of ovarian cancer should contact a doctor.
For people with a high risk, a doctor may recommend regular screening, such as blood tests or ultrasounds. However, the American Cancer Society states that there is no evidence that regular screening reduces the risk of dying from ovarian cancer, for those with a high risk.
It is not currently possible to prevent ovarian cancer for most people. Avoiding risk factors could help, but many of the known risk factors are unavoidable, such as genetic mutations.
Most people have a low risk of ovarian cancer, and having one or more risk factors is likely to have only a small influence on this risk.
Several protective factors can lower the risk of ovarian cancer, such as taking oral contraceptives. However, these protective factors have their own risks and may be inappropriate for some people.
Last medically reviewed on February 27, 2022