Certain risk factors are likely to increase a woman’s chances of getting ovarian cancer. Having a risk factor does not necessarily predict that you will get cancer. Many women who get the disease never had the risk factors, and most who have the risk factors never get the disease. It only means that you need to be on guard. If you suspect you’re at risk of getting ovarian cancer, consult Daniel Roshan MD OBGYN, so that he can help you take the correct measures. There are several factors that may increase your chances of getting ovarian cancer and these are discussed below.
About twenty percent of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease. The gene problem is caused by a hereditary gene mutation either in the breast cancer gene 1 or breast cancer gene 2. Because these genes are linked to both ovarian and breast cancer, women who’ve had breast cancer have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Another genetic link to ovarian cancer is an inherited condition called hereditary no polyposis colorectal cancer or Lynch Syndrome. Although it poses a greater risk of getting colorectal cancer, women with Lynch Syndrome also have a high chance of developing ovarian cancer, and an even higher chance of developing uterine cancer.
If your sister, daughter, mother or grandmother has ovarian cancer, whether or not there is a known genetic mutation, you’re still a candidate with an increased risk of developing the disease. If you have a first-degree relative with this disease, you have a five percent lifetime risk of getting the disease. The average woman’s lifetime risk is about 1.4 percent. Heredity is a strong risk factor for ovarian cancer, even though it only accounts for a limited number of cases. A family history of breast, ovarian, colon, uterine or rectal cancer may indicate an increased risk of developing the disease.
You’re also likely to get ovarian cancer if you have a personal history of any of the aforementioned diseases. Having endometriosis increases the chances of endometrioid ovarian cancer or clear cell cancer by two to three times.
Regardless of age, all women are at risk of developing ovarian cancer. However, cancer rates are highest in women between the ages of 55 to 64 years. The median age at which most women are diagnosed with cancer is 63, meaning half the number is younger than 63, and the other half is older.
There’s also a relationship between the number of menstrual cycles in a woman and her risk of getting ovarian cancer. She is at an increased risk if she started her periods before the age of twelve, if she has not given birth to any child, if she had her first child after the age of 30, if she experienced menopause after 50, if she has taken oral contraceptives or if she is infertile.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is used to alleviate menopause symptoms, such as vaginal dryness, night sweats, hot flashes, and sleeplessness. These symptoms occur as the body tries to adjust to the decreased levels of estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy employs estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Women who use hormonal therapy for more than five years have a likelihood of developing ovarian cancer.