Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

Today I want to share the risk factors for ovarian cancer and screening tests that can be performed.  This information is from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Risk factors for ovarian cancer may include:

Family history of ovarian or breast cancer

Family/personal history of BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genetic mutation

Being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (increased risk of BRCA-1 & BRCA-2 mutation)

Never having been pregnant

Abdominal obesity

Women who began menstruating before age 12 or reached menopause after 50

Use of hormone replacement therapy

Factors that MAY reduce ovarian cancer risk:

Use of oral contraceptives


Oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)

Breast feeding


There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer and a Pap test does NOT detect ovarian cancer.  However, ovarian cancer abnormalities can be detected by a complete pelvic exam, a transvaginal ultrasound, and a CA-125 blood test.  These tests are most effective when used in combination with each other.  The only definitive way to diagnosis ovarian cancer is through surgery and biopsy.

Ovarian cancer is known as “The Disease that Whispers” so listen carefully!

Know your body.  Know the symptoms.  Be persistent.


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