How Can I Potentially Lower My Chances of Developing Ovarian Cancer?

How Can I Potentially Lower My Chances of Developing Ovarian Cancer?

Women across the nation generally have at least one risk factor for ovarian cancer, and, generally more. That being said, the most common factors associated with the development of ovarian cancer only slightly increase the overall risk, so the frequency of the disease is not well-explained. Further, what we do know about ovarian cancer has not really given us concrete ways to actually prevent the disease. There are some ways, however, you can at least partially protect yourself from developing epithelial ovarian cancer—the most common type of ovarian cancer by a huge margin. There is less information regarding reducing the risk factors for stromal tumors of the ovaries or ovarian germ cell cancer.


This article refers only to lowering risk factors for epithelial ovarian cancer. Some of the following strategies can reduce your risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer only in the slightest, while other might reduce the risk more. Some of the strategies require only minor changes in your lifestyle, while others involve a surgical procedure. If you have concerns regarding your own risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer, discussing this with a trusted physician could help you understand the disease and your personal risks. The following are the known strategies for potentially reducing your risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer:

  • The use of oral contraceptives may decrease a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, particularly when the birth control pills are used for many years. Overall, women who used birth control pills for five years or more had about a 50 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer than women who never used birth control pills. Despite this, birth control pills have some risks of their own, therefore before you take contraceptives you should discuss the risk vs. benefit with your physician.
  • Women who undergo a tubal ligation or a hysterectomy could reduce the chance of developing ovarian cancer, however doctors don’t believe—in most cases—these operations should be performed only as a method of reducing the risk of ovarian cancer. When the tubes are tied, the pathway for the talc fibers has been effectively blocked, therefore the risk goes down considerably. If you are considering a hysterectomy for other reasons than your risk of ovarian cancer, it could be wise to have both ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a part of the hysterectomy procedure.  In some cases, a doctor may recommend that a woman have her ovaries and uterus removed if she has either already gone through menopause, or is close to going through menopause.
  • Women who have a BRCA mutation gene, or a strong family history of ovarian cancer may be encouraged to consider genetic counseling and testing. A woman’s personal medical and family history is reviewed during genetic counseling, and a prediction can be made as to whether you might possess one of the gene mutations which are currently associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The results of genetic testing are not always so clear-cut, yet for some women, finding out they don’t have the gene mutation which can lead to ovarian cancer can be a huge relief.

On the other hand, finding out you do have the gene mutation which can lead to ovarian cancer can be extremely stressful. If you find out you do have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation, your doctor may suggest you take oral contraceptives to reduce your risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, contraceptives may increase the risk of breast cancer among women who have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Among women who have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, it is unclear whether a tubal ligation can effectively reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Most researchers agree that removing both ovaries, as well as the fallopian tubes, does appear to protect women, at least to some extent, who have the BRCA 1 and BRCA2 gene mutations from developing ovarian cancer. Having the ovaries removed to prevent ovarian cancer when no ovarian cancer is suspected, is known as a prophylactic, or risk-reducing surgery. While such an operation can significantly reduce a woman’s chances of developing ovarian cancer—among women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation—it does not entirely eliminate that risk. 

When the fallopian tubes are removed among women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, early fallopian cancers may be found. Premenopausal women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations who have their ovaries removed, may have effectively reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent or more, and their risk of ovarian cancer between 85-95 percent.  In order to garner the greatest possible risk reduction of breast cancer, researchers believe the ovaries must be removed by the time the woman is 35.


Avoiding Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer / Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer

If you have been following the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder lawsuits, you may have many questions regarding ovarian cancer, including whether this talcum powder ovarian cancer (and other types of ovarian cancer) could potentially be prevented. Women who have a good understanding of the causes of ovarian cancer as well as the symptoms, may be much more likely to detect ovarian cancer early, while it is still very treatable. The issue with Johnson & Johnson is whether talcum powder (talc is found in J & J baby powder with talc, as well as J & J “Shower to Shower”) when used for feminine hygiene, can increase a woman’s chances of developing ovarian cancer.


Many studies seem to back up this theory, with some of them concluding that talcum powder, when used in the genital region, could potentially increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by as much as 30-40 percent. As far back as the 1970’s, researchers identified talc fibers in tissues taken from women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Although Johnson & Johnson maintains talcum powder ovarian cancer has little basis in fact, research and the recent talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits say otherwise.


Within the first few months of 2016, two Missouri juries found in favor of the plaintiffs in two separate talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits. One jury awarded the family of a woman who died from talcum powder related ovarian cancer $72 million. A second jury awarded a woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 $55 million. Both women said they used J & J talc-based powder products (either baby powder with talc or “Shower to Shower”) for long periods of time.


Avoiding the possibility of developing Talcum Powder related Ovarian Cancer may hinge on the fact that many of the aforementioned scientific studies point to the regular use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene as being a correlative factor. It is thought that talc fibers migrate up through the reproductive tract and into the ovaries; so perhaps reducing the risk may simply involve stopping the introduction of talc to the body in any way, shape or form.


Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Legal Help: Considering a Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, or you believe you may be at a higher risk of developing the disease, based on the above factors, and you have used talcum powder for feminine hygiene, you could benefit from speaking to an experienced talcum powder ovarian cancer lawyer. Getting talcum powder ovarian cancer legal help can allow you to have your questions answered, and help you to protect your rights in the event you decide to file a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and potentially pain and suffering.

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