Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries and can spread to other parts of the body like pelvis and abdomen. Like any other terminal ailment, early detection is advised. The ovaries, situated on each side of the uterus, are located in the female reproductive system. Treating ovarian cancer at a malignant stage can be difficult and could consequently lead to death, but easy to contain at the early stage when the condition is limited to the ovaries.
Below are some risk factors of ovarian cancer:
Age: All women are at risk of developing ovarian cancer regardless of age, while the ailment has its highest prevalence in women between 55-64 years. Most cases of ovarian cancer occur after menopause, and especially in women aged over 63 years. It is rare before the age of 40 years.
Family history: Women with close relatives who have had ovarian or breast cancer have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, compared with other women. Genetic screening can determine whether somebody carries certain genes that are associated with an increased risk.
Infertility or fertility treatment: Fertility drugs have been linked to a higher risk of ovarian cancer, especially in women who used them for more than one year without becoming pregnant. Those who are infertile may also have a higher risk than those who are not, possible due to not carrying a pregnancy.
Obesity and overweight: Obesity and overweight appear to increase the risk of developing many cancers. Ovarian cancer is more common in women with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30.
Reproductive history: Women who have had one or more full-term pregnancies, especially before the age of 26 years, have a lower risk. The more pregnancies they have, the lower the risk. Breastfeeding may also decrease the risk.
Birth control: Using the contraceptive pill for at least 3 to 6 months appears to reduce the risk. The longer the pill is used, the lower the risk appears to be. Using an injectable contraceptive hormone, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA or Depo-Provera CI), especially for 3 years or more, reduces the risk further.
Diet: Even though the effect of these dietary recommendations on ovarian cancer risk remains uncertain, following them can help prevent several other diseases, including some other types of cancer. Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day, as well as several servings of whole grain foods from plant sources such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta, or beans. Limit the amount of red meat and processed meats you eat.