Am I At Risk For Ovar­ian Can­cer?

Am I at risk for

Wellness Update - - Contents -

The Gy­ne­co­logic Can­cer Foun­da­tion (GCF) has des­ig­nated Septem­ber as Gy­ne­co­logic Can­cer Aware­ness Month. The goal is to draw at­ten­tion to the im­por­tance of early de­tec­tion and preven­tion.

T here is re­ally no way to know for sure if you’re go­ing to get ovar­ian can­cer. Still, cer­tain fac­tors can make you more likely to get it than another woman. Th­ese are called risk fac­tors. How­ever, just be­cause you have one or more risk fac­tors doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean you will get ovar­ian can­cer. In fact, you can have all the risk fac­tors and still not get ovar­ian can­cer, or you can have no known risk fac­tors and get it. If you agree with any of the fol­low­ing bolded state­ments, you may be at an in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing ovar­ian can­cer. Some risk fac­tors are out of your con­trol, such as your age or fam­ily his­tory. Oth­ers-like your weight or tak­ing hor­mones--are fac­tors you can con­trol.

MY MOTHER OR SIS­TER HAD OVAR­IAN, BREAST, OR COLON CAN­CER.

A mother or sis­ter is con­sid­ered a first-de­gree rel­a­tive. If you have two or more first-de­gree rel­a­tives who have had ovar­ian can­cer, this sug­gests that hered­ity may be a cause. If you have a fam­ily his­tory of breast or colon can­cer, your fam­ily may have cer­tain ge­netic mu­ta­tions that also in­crease the risk for ovar­ian can­cer. Th­ese types of ovar­ian can­cer ac­count for about 10 per­cent of ovar­ian can­cer cases.

I HAVE HAD BREAST OR COLON CAN­CER.

A per­sonal his­tory of breast, uter­ine, rec­tum, or colon can­cer puts you at in­creased risk for ovar­ian can­cer.

I AM A WOMAN OLDER THAN AGE 60.

The older you are, the greater your risk for get­ting ovar­ian can­cer. A woman’s risk for ovar­ian can­cer rises with age and peaks dur­ing her 70s.

I’VE NEVER HAD CHIL­DREN.

Women who have never borne chil­dren are at slightly in­creased risk for ovar­ian can­cer.

I AM OBESE.

Be­ing obese means hav­ing a body mass in­dex greater than 30. (Visit the Na­tional Heart, Lung, and Blood In­sti­tute for how to cal­cu­late your body mass in­dex.) Obe­sity in­creases risk for ovar­ian can­cer. The more ex­cess weight you have, the more your risk is in­creased.

I USED TAL­CUM POW­DER.

Some stud­ies show a re­la­tion­ship be­tween ovar­ian can­cer and use of tal­cum pow­der on the gen­i­tal area. This may be be­cause this pow­der once con­tained as­bestos. For more than 20 years, the law has re­quired that th­ese pow­ders be free of as­bestos.

I HAVE TAKEN ES­TRO­GEN RE­PLACE­MENT THER­APY FOR MANY YEARS.

If you’ve used menopausal es­tro­gen re­place­ment ther­apy (tak­ing es­tro­gen alone, with­out pro­ges­terone) for more than 10 years, you may have a slightly in­creased risk of ovar­ian can­cer.

I HAVE USED FER­TIL­ITY DRUGS.

If you’ve used fer­til­ity drugs, you may be at in­creased risk for ovar­ian can­cer. Re­search stud­ies have pro­duced con­flict­ing re­sults. This in­for­ma­tion pro­vided cour­tesy of the Univer­sity of Missouri Health Sys­tem

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