Rising up against ovarian cancer

All women are at risk of ovarian cancer

Woman waving red flag

You may be at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer and not even know it. Women without ovaries can still develop ovarian cancer. Assessing your personal risk can empower you to seek medical advice about ways to reduce your risk or monitor your ovarian health more closely.

These factors can increase your risk for ovarian cancer.

  • Previous cancer diagnoses
  • Family history of ovarian, uterine, endometrial, colon, or rectal cancer
  • Age over 55
  • Obesity
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy during menopause
  • Uninterrupted menstrual cycles (no pregnancies, infertility)
  • A history of endometriosis or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Inherited genetic predisposition
  • Being of Jewish descent

Two other factors which may contribute to an increased risk of ovarian cancer also have been identified.

  1. A diet that is high in meat and animal fat (common in industrialized Western countries where there is a higher prevalence of ovarian cancer)
  2. The use of talc or baby powder in the genital area (talc is related to asbestos, a known carcinogen; the particles can travel to the ovaries and can have toxic results). While several large lawsuits have awarded damages to those afflicted with ovarian cancer, the jury is still out on the medical feasibility of this occuring.

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