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Unfortunately, the exact reason for ovarian cancer is not known. However, there are more than a few factors, which aggravate your risks of developing ovarian cancer. Your susceptibility to the disease is high if you have more than a few risk factors. The most pivotal risk factor for ovarian cancer is age. However, that is not all. There are several other risk factors, which you must be aware of. When you are aware of your risk factors, it will be easier for you to prevent cancer or detect it in the early stages. As you know, in the earlier stages treating cancer is somewhat quicker. However, if you let cancer aggravate to advanced stages, it will only get painful and fatal.
Common risk factors of ovarian cancer
Usually, women over the age of 55 are at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. It primarily includes the women who have reached menopause. However, women between the age group of 40-50 are also at equal risk. In general ⅔ of the total cases of ovarian cancer are in women over 55 years.
The women who have had a sister, grandmother, mother, or aunt with ovarian cancer are at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. When you have a family history of ovarian cancer, you must speak to your doctor about genetic testing or genetic counseling. The other ways to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer include undergoing preventive surgery. Daisy, an associate who works with TrumpLearning, says that she has a family history of ovarian cancer, and so she undergoes screening every five years.
Some women tend to develop ovarian cancer as an inherited faulty gene mutation on any of the two genes known as the breast cancer gene 1 – BRCA1 or the breast cancer gene 2 – BRCA2. Women who undergo BRCA1 mutation have approximately 35-70 percent higher chance of developing ovarian cancer. On the other hand, women who have BRCA2 mutations have about 10 to 30 more increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. However, if we look at the total cases of ovarian cancer, women who develop cancer because of this gene mutation are fairly low. But, it is always best to be cautious about this risk factor for ovarian cancer. Thus, you must discuss with your doctor and get yourself tested for both BRCA mutations. Your gynecologic oncologist or OB-GYN may help you with a reasonable solution.
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and Lynch syndrome
Women who have inherited a genetic disorder like those mentioned above are at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. Lynch syndrome is primarily the reason for an increased risk of cancers of the gynecologic tract, digestive tract, and other organs. On the other hand, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome aggravates the risk of forming polyps in the digestive tract. It also puts you at a greater risk of developing a couple of different cancer types, such as the cancer of testicles, ovaries, rectum, breast, pancreas, stomach, cervix, lungs, and colon.
Kaira, an educator who works with TFTH, shares her experience stating that her aunt was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and in another three years, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer too. In general, women diagnosed with endometrial, colorectal, or breast cancer have a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer.
The problem with a few of these risk factors is that they exist, and you cannot do anything about it (like inherited genes). However, despite the presence of a few risk factors, there are a few things that you can do to prevent the development of ovarian cancer. It will also be essential for you to know that regardless of your risk factors, there may be a chance that you may never develop cancer. However, that should not prevent you from taking adequate measures to reduce the probability further. These include:
Females who have been pregnant with at least one child in the past before the age of 30 reduce their risk of developing ovarian cancer. Further, the more number of children a woman has, the risk of ovarian cancer only declines. Women can also lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer by breastfeeding their child.
Birth control contraceptives
Any female who has used oral pills for birth control for a minimum span of three months reduces their risk of developing ovarian cancer. Moreover, the longer is the consumption of contraceptives; the lower is the overall risk. Your reduced risk goes on for several years, even after you stop the consumption of the pills.
A hysterectomy, which involves removing the uterus, or a tubal ligation, which involves the tying of the fallopian tubes, also reduces the risk of developing ovarian cancer.