Return to Index
Reducing Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer
At this time, there are no specific guidelines for the prevention of ovarian cancer because the cause is unknown; however, women who have had children and who have breastfed them are at lower risk for developing ovarian cancer.
Genetic testing may help identify patients who should consider having a salpingo-oophorectomy . This procedure involves removing both ovaries and the fallopian tubes. It may be done, in some cases, to prevent ovarian cancer in high-risk women, such as:
- Women with a first degree relative with ovarian or breast cancer
- Women who have had breast cancer before age 40
- Women who test positive for a genetic mutation (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
The surgery is the only proven method to reduce the risk of getting this often fatal disease.
To reduce your risk:
- Have an annual health checkup with a pelvic exam
- Eat a low-fat diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Maintain a healthy weight so the doctor can easily feel your ovaries
- Talk to your doctor about whether aspirin would help lower your risk of ovarian cancer.
Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated December 2013. Accessed January 3, 2014
Ovarian cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/ovarian. Accessed January 3, 2014.
2/4/2015 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Trabert B, Ness, RB. Aspirin, nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and acetaminophen use and risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Feb;106(2):djt431.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2014
- Update Date: 02/04/2015