Ask Dr Miriam
An aunt has just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Naturally I’m scared I might get it too. Are there any things I should do to avoid getting it?
A Yes, there are quite a few. Keep to a healthy weight and if you smoke, quit. Women who smoke are at a higher risk.
Having children protects you. The more you have, the lower the risk of ovarian cancer. The pill also significantly lowers your chance of developing ovarian cancer, both while you’re taking the it and long after you stop. Women who breastfeed may have a lower risk and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), particularly oestrogen-only HRT, can increase a woman’s risk. The longer you take HRT the more the risk increases. Also, one woman in 10 is born with a faulty gene that runs in the family, but having a relative with cancer doesn’t always mean you have this gene.