Ovarian cancer is a leading cause of death in women. There are no measures which can definitely prevent ovarian cancer, but you can possibly reduce some of your chances for developing it. Read to know the measures which can reduce your risk of developing this deadly cancer.
[Read: Diet for Ovarian Cancer Patients]
Take oral contraceptive pills: The risk of ovarian cancer is reduced in women who use birth control pills. Studies show that the risk is reduced by about 50 per cent in women who take the pills for five years and the protection persists for years after the pills are stopped. However, birth control pills increase the risk of certain cancer such as breast cancer and other health problems such as deep vein thrombosis. So it is advisable to consult your doctor for the risks and benefits before starting birth control pills. Birth control pills reduce the risk of ovarian cancer even in women who have family history of ovarian cancer and BRCA gene changes.
Go for tubal ligation: Tubal ligation that is surgery to close or tie off your fallopian tubes (bilateral tubal ligation) can reduce your chances of developing ovarian cancer. But after this surgery you will not be able to conceive. So, consider this option after discussing with your spouse and doctor.
Have babies: Studies show that the chance of developingovarian cancer is reduced in women who have one or more babies. If you breastfeed your baby for about one year the risk is further reduced.
Get tested: Some women have a positive family history for ovarian cancer which means they may have a close female relative such as sister, mother, or daughter, or a second-degree female relative-such as an aunt or grandmother who has had ovarian cancer. They may have changes (mutations) in two major genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. Mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increases the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer in these families. So women with family history of ovarian cancer can consider BRCA gene test. If the test is positive (that is BRCA gene changes are present) some experts recommend surgery for removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes between ages 35 and 40 years, or after you are done with having children. This can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by about 96 per cent and breast cancer by 50 per cent. However, this is a big and personal decision so talk to your spouse, family and doctor. Your doctor can guide your about the risks and benefits of surgery.
Eat healthy and exercise: Include vegetable, fruits and whole grain food products and limit intake of fats, processed foods, meats and alcohol. Exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Some studies indicate that regular exercise and being at a healthy body weight can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.
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