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Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors


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3/11/2011
Jeffrey H. Dover
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Though not as prevalent in North America as some other cancers, ovarian cancer is still a serious and deadly threat. Some women are naturally more likely to develop the disease than others due to having one or more risk factors.

The most important risk factors for the development of ovarian cancer are:
  • Age. As you age, your chances of developing ovarian cancer increase. According to the American Cancer Society, half of all ovarian cancer cases are in women over the age of 63.

  • Previously having cancer. This is especially true if you have a personal history of breast cancer. What initially caused the breast cancer may have been the inherited gene mutations BRCA 1 or BRCA 2, which are also determinants for ovarian cancer.
  • Never having been pregnant. If you have never given birth or have experienced problems becoming pregnant, you may have a higher risk of ovarian cancer than parous women (those who have given birth). Risk goes down with every pregnancy a woman has.
  • Family history of the disease. If your mother, sister or daughter has been diagnosed with the disease before, your risk of developing the disease is higher than if a more distant relative has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Almost 10 percent of ovarian cancers occur in women who are at increased risk due to familial history of the disease.
  • Inherited gene mutations. The BRCA 1 and BRCA 1 inherited gene mutations have been proven to increase risk. Still, only a small percentage of ovarian cancers can be linked to this.
  • Hormone replacement therapy. Often used for menopause, this form of therapy has recently been associated with increased ovarian cancer risk. Despite this possible link, findings confirming it as a risk factor have been inconsistent.
  • Obesity. Women with a body mass index of at least 30 have a high risk of ovarian cancer. In one study conducted by the American Cancer Society, risk increased by up to 50 percent in obese women.


Category: Failure to Diagnose Cancer


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