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Reducing Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer
by Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
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:
The following factors are associated with reduced ovarian cancer risk:
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:
Can ovarian cancer be prevented? American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/prevention.html. Updated February 4, 2016. Accessed January 29, 2018.
Committee on Practice Bulletins–Gynecology, Committee on Genetics, Society of Gynecologic Oncology. Practice Bulletin No 182: hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130(3):e110-e126.
Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900705/Ovarian-cancer. Updated November 17, 2017. Accessed January 29, 2018.
Ovarian cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Updated March 2017. Accessed January 29, 2018.
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.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 11/8/2016
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