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Can ovarian cancer be prevented?

by on April 6, 2012

Unfortunately, there is currently no guaranteed way to prevent ovarian cancer. However, there are ways to reduce your risk.

For example, there is research suggesting that taking oral contraceptives (a/k/a the Pill) may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.  The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance estimates that taking oral contraceptives can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by fifty percent if taken for at least five years.  Before taking the Pill or any other course of action discussed below, however, make sure to discuss your options with your physician.

You should also discuss your risk factors with your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Your doctor will be able to determine whether it would be helpful to see a genetic counselor and decide if genetic testing would be appropriate. If you do have a gene mutation that increases your risk of ovarian cancer, your doctor may discuss other proactive measures such as removal of your ovaries. For more information about surgical options, click here.

Some studies have suggested that certain dietary choices (such as eating vegetables or drinking tea) can also help lower your risk, although these are far from definitive. Pregnancy and breastfeeding have also been linked with a lower risk factor, as has tubal ligation (commonly known as getting your tubes tied). For more information, click here and here.

Today’s post concludes the introductory education portion of our blogging adventure. Congratulations – you’ve passed Intro to Ovarian Cancer 101!

We’ll provide additional information along the way, but next week we’ll be beginning the next chapter – the state of ovarian cancer awareness and research, and where progress needs to be made. Stay tuned…

-A.J.

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