Reducing Your Risk of Ovarian CancerEn Español (Spanish Version)
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 breast fed them are at lower risk for developing ovarian cancer. There are several centers throughout the country conducting genetic testing that may help identify you as a woman who could consider having a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy as a prophylactic procedure. Women with a first degree relative with ovarian or breast cancer, women who themselves have had breast cancer before age 40, or women who test positive for a genetic mutation (BRCA1 or BRCA2) have a much higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, and the surgery is the only proven method to reduce your risk of getting this often fatal disease. It is recommended that you have an annual health checkup with a pelvic exam, and keep your weight down so the doctor can easily feel your ovaries.
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. McGraw-Hill; 1998.
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .
Last reviewed April 2007 by Barbara Harty-Golder, MD, JD
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