Can I Reduce My Risk Of Ovarian Cancer?
Physician Tina Ayeni, MD, who is board-certified in gynecologic oncology with Franciscan Physician Network Gynecologic Oncology Specialists in Indianapolis, answers your questions about ovarian cancer.
Q: What Are The Risk Factors For Ovarian Cancer?
A: Ovarian and breast cancers have many of the same risk factors, which surprises many women.
Risk factors for ovarian cancer include:
- Age: Ovarian cancer is most common in women 60 and older.
- Inherited gene mutations (BRCA1 and BRCA2 and gene mutations for Lynch syndrome)
- Having a female relative with ovarian cancer
- Long-term use of estrogen after menopause
- Never being pregnant
- Northern European ancestry
But while these are risk factors, they are not predictors for ovarian cancer.
Talk to your primary care doctor if you are concerned about your risk for ovarian cancer. He or she may recommend regular imaging or blood tests. You may want to consider genetic counseling for more information as well. Most important, though, discuss any symptoms with your primary care doctor.
Q: What Are The Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer?
A: Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:
- Frequent urination
- Abdominal bloating or swelling
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Unexplained weight loss
- Discomfort in the pelvis area
- Changes in bowel habits
Q: Are There Screenings for Ovarian Cancer?
A: Unfortunately, experts still aren't sure what causes ovarian cancer, and there are no highly reliable screenings for ovarian cancer.
Early detection can increase the effectiveness of treatment for ovarian cancer, especially in the early stages when the cancer is still contained in the ovaries. Discuss any symptoms with your primary care doctor.