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Reducing Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer
General Guidelines for All Women
- Quitting smoking—Smoking negatively affects every cell in the body. Quitting smoking is an important step in preventing cancer. The sooner smoking is stopped, the sooner the body can start to heal. Talk to your doctor about the options available to help you successfully quit.
- Maintaining a healthy weight—Eat a low-fat diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables. If you are overweight, talk to a registered dietitian who can help you lose and maintain weight safely.
- Regular exercise—Regular exercise is good for overall health, wellness and maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise (which can be a brisk walk) on most days of the week. If you currently do not exercise, talk to your doctor about how to get started on a program safely.
- Prophylactic surgery—Recommended for women who need a hysterectomy for any reason not related to cancer. Removing both fallopian tubes may help prevent ovarian cancer regardless of genetic risk.
- Having children
- Long-term oral contraceptive use
- History of gynecologic surgery, such as a hysterectomy or tubal ligation
- Regular use of aspirin
General Guidelines for Women at High Risk
- Age over 60 years
- Genetic mutations like BRCA1 or BRCA2, or those linked to colorectal cancers, and Lynch and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) syndromes
- History of breast, uterine, colon, or rectal cancers
- Genetic testing—To assess risk based on any genetic mutations.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy to remove both ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is recommended in women aged 35 years or older who are done having children and carry a genetic risk of ovarian cancer.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 12/2015
- Update Date: 11/08/2016