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Red flags that put you at higher risk


Assess your risk

Many factors can increase your risk of ovarian cancer. Talk to your medical provider if you have concerns about your past personal health or family cancer history. There are ways to reduce your risk.

  • Age over 55
  • Previous cancer diagnoses
  • Being of Jewish descent
  • Obesity
  • Family history of breast, ovarian, uterine, endometrial, colon, or rectal cancer
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy during menopause
  • Uninterrupted menstrual cycles (no pregnancies, infertility)
  • A history of endometriosis, chlamydia or Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Inherited genetic predisposition (HBOC, Lynch Syndrome)

Two other factors which may contribute to an increased risk of ovarian cancer also have been identified

  1. A diet high in meat and animal fat (common in industrialized Western countries where there is a higher prevalence of ovarian cancer)
  2. The use of talc or baby powder in the genital area (talc is related to asbestos, a known carcinogen; the particles can travel to the ovaries and be toxic). Several large lawsuits have awarded damages to those afflicted with ovarian cancer. However, the jury is still out on the medical soundness of this theory.