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At this time, there are no specific guidelines for the prevention of ovarian cancer because the cause is unknown; however, women who have had children and who have breastfed them are at lower risk for developing ovarian cancer.

Genetic testing may help identify patients who should consider having a salpingo-oophorectomy. This procedure involves removing both ovaries and the fallopian tubes. It may be done, in some cases, to prevent ovarian cancer in high-risk women, such as:

  • Women with a first degree relative with ovarian or breast cancer
  • Women who have had breast cancer before age 40
  • Women who test positive for a genetic mutation (BRCA1 or BRCA2)

The surgery is the only proven method to reduce the risk of getting this often fatal disease.

To reduce your risk:

  • Have an annual health checkup with a pelvic exam
  • Eat a low-fat diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain a healthy weight so the doctor can easily feel your ovaries

References:

Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.

Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated December 2013. Accessed January 3, 2014

Ovarian cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/ovarian. Accessed January 3, 2014.



Last reviewed January 2014 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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