8 Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

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Understand your risk

According to the American Cancer Society, the following eight factors may increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer:

  1. Being post-menopausal

Most ovarian cancers develop after menopause. Half of all ovarian cancers are found in women 63 years of age or older.

  1. Being obese

Research looking at the relationship of obesity and ovarian cancer has found that women with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 have a higher risk of developing the disease.

  1. Being an older mom

Women who have their first full-term pregnancy after age 35 or who have never given birth have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. But breastfeeding may lower this risk.

  1. Using hormone replacement therapy

Women who use estrogens after menopause have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to some studies. The risk is highest in women who take estrogen alone (without progesterone) for at least five to 10 years.

  1. Using fertility drugs

Some research has found that women who use the fertility drug clomiphene citrate (Clomid) for longer than one year may increase the risk of developing ovarian tumors.

  1. Having a family history of certain cancers

You are at an increased risk for ovarian cancer if you have close relatives who’ve had ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or colorectal cancer.

  1. Having a gene mutation

Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation are approximately 10 to 70 percent more likely to get ovarian cancer than women in the general population, who have a 2 percent risk. Talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested for these mutations.

  1. Using talcum powder

Study results about this risk factor have been mixed, but there is some evidence suggesting a slightly increased risk in women who have applied talcum powder on or near their genitals.