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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 women who should consider having a salpingo-oophorectomy. This procedure involves removing both ovaries and the fallopian tubes. In some cases, this may be done to prevent ovarian cancer in high-risk women. This may include:

  • 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 ovarian cancer.

To help 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.

Revision Information

  • Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.

  • Ovarian cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003130-pdf.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2014.

  • Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900705/Ovarian-cancer. Updated May 6, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.

  • Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/ovarian/patient/ovarian-epithelial-treatment-pdq#section/%5F156. Accessed January 3, 2014.

  • 2/4/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900705/Ovarian-cancer: Trabert B, Ness, RB, Lo-Ciganic WH. 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;106(2):djt431.