October 21, 2022

6 Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer


Ovarian cancer is not as common as others that affect women, such as breast cancer, but it can be far more deadly.

Common signs are bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling full or having trouble eating, and a swollen stomach to where clothes are tight but you’re still losing weight. Early detection, as it is in most cancers, is key. The survival rate if caught early is around 94%.

Doctors say if any of these symptoms are persistent, you should be screened, and that’s especially true if you have additional factors that put you at higher risk.

CHC has a look at six risk factors for ovarian cancer.

  1. Age

Younger women can be diagnosed, but ovarian cancer is more common in women 55 or older.

  1. Pregnancy History

Women who have either never been pregnant (or never had a full-term pregnancy) or didn’t give birth until after the age of 35 are at a higher risk.

  1. Being Overweight and Smoking

Being at an unhealthy weight (body mass index [BMI] over 30) can not necessarily increase your chances of getting ovarian cancer, but it can decrease the survival rate. Smoking raises the risk for a certain type of ovarian cancer as well.

  1. Personal and Family Medical History

You’re at a higher risk if you have a close family member who had ovarian cancer or if you have a history that includes breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer.

  1. Fertility Treatment

Studies have shown that having done in vitro fertilization (IVF) can increase the risk of tumors in the ovaries. These are typically borderline or low malignant potential tumors and not invasive types of the disease.

  1. Race and Ethnicity

Research has found that white women with Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish (those who established communities in France and Germany during the Middle Ages) backgrounds have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

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