• Reducing Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer

    A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing cancer. Some risk factors such as family history or genetics cannot be changed. Fortunately, there are also risk factors which can be modified.

    General Guidelines for All Women

    There are no specific guidelines to prevent ovarian cancer because the cause is unknown. There are factors that can be modified to reduce your risk of cancer. These include:
    • Quitting smokingSmoking 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 walking) 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.
    The following factors are associated with reduced ovarian cancer risk:
    • Having children
    • Breastfeeding
    • Long-term oral contraceptive use
    • History of gynecologic surgery, such as a hysterectomy or tubal ligation
    • Regular use of aspirin
    It is important to note that these methods will not work for everyone. Some methods also carry serious risks that may outweigh the long-term benefits. Talk to your doctor about your overall risk of ovarian cancer to determine if these would be helpful for you.

    General Guidelines for Women at High Risk

    Certain factors increase the risk for ovarian cancer. The following groups have a higher risk:
    If you are in a high risk group, in addition to guidelines above, your doctor may recommend:
    • 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.

    References

    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACOG Committee on Practice Bulletins—Gynecology, ACOG Committee on Genetics, Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 103: Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;113(4):957-966. Reaffirmed 2015.

    Ovarian cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003130-pdf.pdf. Accessed November 8, 2016.

    Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900705/Ovarian-cancer. Updated November 2, 2016. Accessed November 8, 2016.

    Ovarian cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/gynecologic-tumors/ovarian-cancer. Updated May 2013. Accessed November 8, 2016.

    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.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.