• 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
    • Maintain a healthy weight so the doctor can easily feel your ovaries

    References

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

    Ovarian cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/ovarian/ . Accessed April 8, 2009.

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