Women's Health

The 10 Most Dangerous Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

The 10 Most Dangerous Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

The 10 Most Dangerous Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is sneaky, tending not to give a whole lot of warning before it slams you with an advanced stage diagnosis. There is no effective screening method for it, and by the time a woman sees a doctor, it will often have progressed to an advanced stage.

Statistics for this disease tend to look grim, with the five-year survival rate at 45 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. Some women may not want to know statistics like this, but there is no need to treat the numbers as a self-fulfilling prophecy; many women survive beyond five years and are cured.

Only 15 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage for a range of reasons, including vague symptoms that could be mistaken for other issues. Immediate action is crucial when you have such symptoms though, because it greatly increases your chances of effective treatment and survival.

Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal bloating or discomfort
  • Increased or urgent need to urinate
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Pelvic pain

Ovarian cancer is known not to give many warning signs until it starts to progress, and by then it results in an advanced stage diagnosis. There is no one effective method for screening this cancer, and many times it progresses to an advanced stage by the time the woman reaches out to the doctor. Some of the symptoms pertaining to ovarian cancer are discomfort or bloating in the abdomen, pain in the pelvic region, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and an urgent or more frequent need to urinate. Below are the risk factors concerning ovarian cancer that everyone should be aware of:

  • Use of talc products is known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. These talc products are said to be mostly found in certain beauty products, such as cosmetics and other consumer items. Asbestos found in the talc powder is said to be linked to cancer. There is also uncertainty as to the safety of asbestos-free items as well.
  • Pads and tampons are a modern convenience for women and are not given much thought as to their effects on women’s health, but they are said to contain dioxin, which is suspected to lead to an increase in the risk of ovarian cancer. Many of these sanitation items are known to contain pesticides, bleach, and other toxic chemicals.
  • Obesity or weight gain can also lead to an increase in one’s risk for ovarian cancer. A woman having a body mass index higher than 30 is at an increased risk. These obese women, once diagnosed with ovarian cancer, also have a lower chance of survival.
  • Smoking, as we all know, is linked to cancer, but it is also known to increase the risk of mucinous epithelial kind of ovarian cancer. This has been confirmed in multiple research studies.
  • There is a variant gene that is associated with breast as well as ovarian cancer. So, those women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50 are at an increased risk of ovarian cancer as well.
  • Gamma radiation and X-rays are known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Most other types of cancer are also known to be potentially caused due to ionizing radiation.
  • Ovarian cancer has also been observed to occur in women who are in the age group of 50 to 60 years.
  • Long-term use and higher doses of estrogen hormone replacement therapy can also lead to higher chances of developing this cancer.
  • For those women who began their menstruation cycle before the age of 12, those who underwent menopause after the age of 52, or those who experienced both are said to have a higher chance of getting ovarian cancer.
  • Fertility drugs increase the level of estrogen in the body, and experts also believe that women who take these drugs, but have not conceived are at a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer. Being infertile is one of the biggest risk factors for ovarian cancer.