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Introduction

A number of things can affect your risk of developing ovarian cancer. All women in the UK have a 1 in 54 chance of developing ovarian cancer so ovarian cancer is rare.

Ovarian Cancer Action are campaigning for all women with ovarian cancer to be BRCA tested at point of diagnosis and we are helping them along the way by offering all of their highest fundraisers at all of their events a free massage!
A number of things can increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer, below are some details on these risks.

Your Family History:

  • Ovarian or breast cancer is in your family

If two or more relatives from the same side of your family have had ovarian cancer under the age of 50 years, or there have been more than one case of ovarian and breast cancer in your family you may have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer yourself. This is because you might have inherited a faulty gene known as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation that creates a greater chance, 35-60%, of developing ovarian cancer.

You can use our online BRCA Risk Tool to assess whether your family history puts you at risk of developing ovarian cancer.

  •  Ovarian, womb, colon, bowel or stomach cancer are in your family

A rare condition called hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), which runs in families, can slightly increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer. It can also increase your risk of developing bowel, womb, stomach, colon, pancreatic, biliary and bladder cancer. HNPCC is caused by inherited gene mutations (known as the MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 mutations).

Getting Older:

Your risk of developing ovarian cancer increases as you get older and most ovarian cancer cases occur in women over the age of 50 years. However, some types of ovarian cancer do appear in much younger women.

Other risk factors:

In addition to age and family history, the following may slightly increase your risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Being obese
  • A long menstrual history – which can result from one or more of the following:
    o Starting your period before 12
    o Going through the menopause after 55
    o Having your first child after 30
    o Not having any children
    o Not breast feeding
  •  Endometriosis (a condition of the womb)
  • Using oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Smoking, which may increase your risk of developing mucinous ovarian cancer

Article by: Ovarian Cancer Action

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