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How To Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer: 5 Things You Can Do

How To Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer: 5 Things You Can Do

Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cause of death among women. It is also estimated that every woman has about a 1 in 78 chance of developing this type of cancer. While you can’t prevent it outright, knowing how to lower risk of ovarian cancer is helpful.

How To Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer: 5 Things That Can Help

At the moment, the exact cause of ovarian cancer is not yet clear. However, we do know what factors can increase a person’s risk. Conversely, we do know of certain things that can help lower a woman’s risk of developing this cancer.

Here are 5 of the possible ways to lower your risk of ovarian cancer:

1. Birth Control

One of the ways of how to lower risk of ovarian cancer is to take birth control1, specifically, oral contraceptives or birth control pills. Taking oral contraceptives for at least 5 years has been linked to a 50% lower risk of developing cancer of the ovaries.

Despite this signifcant reduction in risk, taking birth control to lower your risk of ovarian cancer isn’t always a good idea. This is because there are still side effects to taking birth control, and some women can have an adverse reaction to these pills.

Birth control should be taken primarily for contraception, or if your doctor recommends it.

Frequently Asked Questions on Contraception Pills

2. Tubal Ligation

Tubal ligation is a process that involves clipping or removing a woman’s fallopian tubes. This is a permanent form of birth control, and it can also help lower the risk of ovarian cancer2.

Just as with birth control, tubal ligation should be performed with the goal of preventing pregnancies. It should not be done as a means of lowering your risk of ovarian cancer. Since tubal ligation is permanent, once you undergo this procedure, you will no longer be able to conceive.

While tubal ligation can decrease the risk of ovarian cancer, think of it as more of a side effect of the procedure, and not the main purpose.

3. Pregnancy

Pregnancy also lowers a woman’s risk of acquiring ovarian cancer3. The reason behind this is that ovulation stops during pregnancy. Any time a woman stops ovulating, it has been found that it can help lower the risk of cancer of the ovaries.

Women who have never been pregnant also have a higher risk of developing this type of cancer.

how to lower risk of ovarian cancer

4. Breastfeeding

Interestingly, breastfeeding is also an effective way of how to lower risk of ovarian cancer4. This is because just as with pregnancy, ovulation also stops whenever a mother is breastfeeding.

This is just one of the many reasons why breastfeeding can be beneficial.

5. Not Undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy

Women who have not undergone hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. Additionally, HRT has also been found to increase the risk of breast as well as womb cancer.

If you are considering HRT, it is important for you to discuss all aspects of the treatment with your doctor. It’s always a good idea to be aware of the possible risks and to be open to alternatives should you be worried about this form of therapy.

Key Takeaways

There are a number of ways of how to lower risk of ovarian cancer. However, some of these methods aren’t solely for reducing the risk of this disease. As you get older, it’s also a good idea to undergo yearly checkups and screenings so that you can keep an eye on your health.

This also helps you detect ovarian cancer early on, and head it off before it gets worse. Remember, treating cancer early greatly increases the chances of success.

Learn more about Ovarian Cancer here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 How to Prevent Ovarian Cancer | Oral Contraceptives & Ovarian Cancer, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/prevention.html, Accessed December 22, 2021

2 Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors & Prevention | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/types/ovarian/risk-prevention, Accessed December 22, 2021

3 How to lower your ovarian cancer risk | MD Anderson Cancer Center, https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/Ovarian-cancer-symptoms-and-prevention.h25Z1591413.html, Accessed December 22, 2021

4 Towards Prevention of Ovarian Cancer – PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29295697/, Accessed December 22, 2021

5 Does hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increase cancer risk? | Cancer Research UK, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/hormones-and-cancer/does-hormone-replacement-therapy-increase-cancer-risk, Accessed December 22, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Dec 23, 2021
Fact Checked by Vincent Sales