Abnormal cells found in the inner and outer layer of the ovaries can cause ovarian cancer. The ovary is in the shape of two small almonds, located on each side of the uterus. Researchers until today are unable to gauge the exact cause of ovarian cancer. All we know is that there are many factors that can put women at a higher risk of developing this disease. The common risk factors associated with this disease are:
If your blood relatives like mother, sister, or grandmother have this disease or had it in the past, you are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, a commonly inherited gene, are also at a 30 to 70 percent higher risk. It is important to note that most women who develop ovarian cancer do not have any mutation genes in the body.
Individuals who have inherited genetic disorders like Lynch syndrome and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome are known to be at a greater risk. Cancer in the digestive system, gynecologic tract, and other organs is caused by Lynch syndrome. Peutz-Jeghers syndrome can cause cancer in several organs, including breasts, colon, rectum pancreas, stomach, lungs., among others.
Personal history of cancer
Women who have struggled from any kind of cancer in the past develop a greater risk of ovarian cancer. If cancer has occurred especially, in breasts or colorectal, one needs to be utmost careful. Additionally, having endometriosis enhances the risk of clear cells, in turn increasing the risk of endometrioid ovarian cancer.
Age and obesity
Ovarian cancer usually happens to older women who are between the age of 55 and 64 years. Most women are diagnosed at the age of 63. Young and obese women also have a risk of developing the condition. Most ovarian cancers happen after the menopause stage has passed in a woman’s life or in individuals that are heavily overweight. Out of 10 women, 8 are diagnosed with ovarian cancer above the age of 50.
Infertility and reproduction history
If you have started your menstruation at 12 years or earlier and not given birth to any children, you will be at an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Also, if you have had your menopause after 50 years, never consumed oral contraceptives in your life, or have infertility issues, you are likely to develop this disease.
Hormone replacement therapy
Hormonal replacement therapy is advised by doctors to relieve symptoms associated with menopause, which happen because of the lowering of the estrogen levels in the body. Recent studies have indicated that women who get this therapy are at great risk of ovarian cancer. Using estrogen and progestin with or without hysterectomy for five or more years can lead to ovarian cancer too.