Ovarian Cancer Prevention

Be Aware of Symptoms

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

At present, there are no standardized screening tests for ovarian cancer. Women who are high risk for ovarian cancer should have regular gynecologic examinations and follow their doctor’s recommendations. This includes women who have:

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene
  • Hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome
  • Hereditary Lynch syndrome

Other risk factors include:

  • Never becoming pregnant or having a baby
  • Starting your menstrual cycle before age 12 and going through menopause after age 50
  • Using hormone replacement therapy for menopause symptoms

Talk to your doctor if you feel you are high risk for the disease.

Preventing Ovarian Cancer

While you may not be able to prevent ovarian cancer, there are behaviors and treatments that lower your risk. We provide a high risk ovarian cancer clinic for women who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene and are at high risk for breast cancer.

Read LA Times' article about previvor and how hereditary cancer can be missed.

In the clinic, our gynecologic oncologists work with patients to ensure they never develop ovarian cancer. We advise women at high risk to have their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to prevent them from ever having cancer. Additionally, we closely monitor all patients every six months and perform bloodwork (cancer antigen or CA-125 blood test). Many women with ovarian cancer have elevated levels of CA-125, a protein in the blood. If cancer is detected, we can catch it early when it is most treatable.
  • Breast feeding
  • Giving birth to one or more children
  • Having your  fallopian tubes tied or cut (tubal ligation)
  • Removing your ovaries
  • Removing your uterus
  • Taking birth control pills

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

In some cases, this cancer has no early symptoms. The following symptoms of ovarian cancer also may be caused by something other than cancer.
  • Back or leg pain
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Problems such as gas, bloating, long-term stomach pain, constipation or indigestion
  • Swelling of the stomach (abdomen)
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or spotting

Learn about frequently asked Gynecologic Cancer Questions, click here.

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor or make an appointment with The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Request an Appointment