How do I know my risk? 

 

Ultimately you must talk to your doctor to fully understand your individual risk for ovarian or any other cancer. The descriptions below will provide some useful information to help you with that conversation.

General Risk 

1 in 70 women at this level will have ovarian cancer in her lifetime

You have: 

  • No family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

  • No difficulty getting pregnant.

  • Never taken hormone replacement therapy.

 

Recommendations:

  • Have a gynecological exam once a year.

  • Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any of the ovarian cancer symptoms described in the What is Ovarian Cancer section of this website on a daily basis for 2-3 weeks.

Slightly Increased Risk 

Up to 1 in 20 women at this level will have ovarian cancer in her lifetime

You have any of the following:

  • A history of difficulty getting pregnant.

  • A history of endometriosis.

  • Taken hormone replacement therapy to help manage menopausal symptoms.

 

Recommendations:

  • Have a gynecological exam once a year.

  • Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any of the ovarian cancer symptoms described in the What is Ovarian Cancer section of this website on a daily basis for 2-3 weeks.

  • Consider using birth control pills, after speaking with your doctor, if you are in the reproductive age group and have not had breast cancer.

Moderately Increased Risk

Up to 1 in 10 women at this level will have ovarian cancer in her lifetime

You have any of the following: 

  • A close blood relation (i.e. mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt or niece), on either your mother’s or father’s side of the family, who has had ovarian cancer at any age.

  • Personally had breast cancer before age 45.

  • Personally had breast cancer before age 50 and have at least one close relative who has had breast cancer prior to age 50 or ovarian cancer at any age.

  • Two or more close relatives on the same side of the family (either your mother’s or father’s) that have had breast cancer before age 50 or ovarian cancer at any age.

  • Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry and you or a close relative, on either side of your family, has had breast cancer before age 50 or ovarian cancer at any age.

 

Recommendations:

  • Have a gynecological exam once a year.

  • Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any of the ovarian cancer symptoms described in the What is Ovarian Cancer section of this website on a daily basis for 2-3 weeks.

  • Consider using birth control pills, after speaking with your doctor, if you are in the reproductive age group and have not had breast cancer.

  • Talk to your doctor about genetic counseling and possibly genetic testing to help determine the best screening and prevention strategies.

Very Increased Risk 

Up to 1 in 2 women at this level will have ovarian cancer in her lifetime

You have had:

  • Genetic testing indicating you have a cancer causing change (mutation) in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

 

Recommendations:

  • Have a gynecological exam once a year.

  • Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any of the ovarian cancer symptoms described in the What is Ovarian Cancer section of this website on a daily basis for 2-3 weeks.

  • Consider using birth control pills, after speaking with your doctor, if you are in the reproductive age group and have not had breast cancer.

  • Talk to your doctor about genetic counseling and possibly genetic testing to help determine the best screening and prevention strategies.

  • Have both annual mammograms and annual breast MRIs beginning at age 25-30.

  • Have both a transvaginal ultrasound and the CA125 blood test two times per year starting at age 30-35 until the ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed preventatively.

© 2011 Foundation for Women’s Cancer and Project Hope for Ovarian Cancer Research and Education. All rights reserved.