Ovarian Cancer, defined by the National Cancer Institute, is a cancer that formson the tissues of the ovar (one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. There are various forms of ovarian cancers, however most common are the ovarian epithelial carcinomas (where the cancer begins in the cells on the surface of the ovary) or malignant germ cell turmors (where the cancer begins in the egg cells).

A study published in Public Health Nutrition, “Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer” reports that ovarian cancer accounts for nearly 200,000 cases and over 100,000 deaths in 2010. Studies show that there is a higher incidence of ovarian cancer in Western countries.

Risk of ovarian cancer can be broken down into risk factors that can and cannot be controlled.

Risk factors that cannot be controlled include:

    – Age: The risk increases with age
    – Family History of Ovarian Cancer
    – Genetics

However, there are a number of controllable risk factors including:

Delayed Childbirth – pregnancy and age of pregnancy appears to be linked to ovarian cancer rates. Pregnancy seems to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer if a women gives birth to her first child before the age of 30.

Use of Fertility Drugs – Some research suggests that women who have used fertility drugs are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Use of Estrogen Replacement Therapy – Research has shows that 1o years or more of ERT can double the risk of ovarian cancer, but luckily the precentage points are low, increasing from a normal risk of 1% to an increased risk of 2%.

Learn more about reducing the risk for ovarian cancer.