The word cancer is scary. All cancers take their toll but ovarian cancer by itself is very deadly among cancers in women. The ovarian cancer is a silent killer because the symptoms are often vague ones like, gaseousness indigestion/bloating sensation or a frequent need to pass urine so a patient often presents in an advanced stage to the doctor.
Let us see what might help prevent an ovarian cancer
Birth control /Oral contraceptive pills
If you use oral contraceptive pills/ birth control pills for a long time, there is a reduced risk of developing ovarian cancer. It is said that using these pills for more than 5 years reduces your chance of having cancer of ovaries by almost 50%. Mind you the pills should be taken after consulting a doctor. The doctor will assess you before starting any pills because these pills may also have some side effects or may be risky for some individuals. So always a risk benefit analysis needs to be done.
Those who have not borne children are somewhat at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer and vice versa .So the more full term deliveries you have had and the more breast feeding you have done, the more protected you are from ovarian cancer.
Hysterectomy (removal of uterus)/ tubal ligation(tying of tubes)
It is said that hysterectomy and removal of tubes may be somewhat protective .These operations should only be performed for valid reasons and not for preventing cancer in a lady. If your periods have stopped (menopause) then it is better to get both your ovaries removed since the ovaries are not producing any hormones. For ladies less than 45 years / those who have not attained menopause, discuss with your doctor. Let the doctor look into your family history and other health issues and decide whether one/ both ovaries need to be removed. It has to be kept in mind that removing ovaries before the age of menopause can deprive your body of hormones which protect your heart bones etc.
In case one has a strong family history of ovarian cancer genetic counselling/ BRACA gene mutation testing can be ordered .This will predict the individual’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. In such cases (BRACA gene mutation) after overall assessment, one can opt for removal of ovaries called prophylactic salpingo oophorectomy .This will reduce the chance of developing ovarian cancer around 75 % and breast cancer by 50%.
Risk increases with age and obesity
Those who are obese in early years are found to be at higher risk for developing ovarian cancers. So keeping your weight in check can help somewhat.
For ovarian cancer can be done by a clinical examination /transvaginal (internal) ultrasound and a CA125 levels (blood test).Get yourself screened by a gynaecologist.
It goes without saying that maintaining an ideal weight and eating a healthy diet is very important it keeps you from developing many health problems and cancers.