Who is affected by ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in women.1 It most often affects postmenopausal women.

Women who have family members—especially first-degree relatives such as a mother, sister, or daughter—who have had ovarian cancer have a higher risk of getting it themselves.2

Women who are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry or Icelandic ethnicity may have an increased risk because of changes to the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Women with this ancestry have higher rates of these gene changes.3

Women who have had breast cancer have twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to women who have not had breast cancer.3 Women who have a history of breast cancer in their family also have an increased risk for ovarian cancer.

Citations

  1. National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2009). Ovarian cancer, including fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, version 1. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/ovarian.pdf.
  2. Ozols RF, et al. (2005). Epithelial ovarian cancer. In WJ Hoskins et al., eds., Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology, 4th ed., chap. 25, pp. 895–987. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  3. Berek JS, Natarajan S (2007). Ovarian and fallopian tube cancer. In JS Berek, ed., Berek and Novak's Gynecology, 14th ed., pp. 1457–1547. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Last Updated: June 15, 2009

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.