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Your Health

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
  • Eat a low-fat diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • 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. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated December 2013. Accessed January 3, 2014

Ovarian cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/ovarian. Accessed January 3, 2014.

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