How to prevent ovarian cancer?

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Ovarian cancer is linked with genetic mutations and their inheritance in family. This makes some of us are at more risks of developing ovarian cancer than some others. Studies suggest that BRCA gene mutation is linked to ovarian cancer in young females.(brca-gene)  BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 genes are tumor suppressor genes. Mutation in these genes results in ovarian and breast cancer development. The disease is noxious and not easy to cure.

As they say prevention is better than cure, the best way is to avoid things that may ‘trigger’ ovarian cancer development. These few points may help you to prevent cancer development to much extent. September is ovarian cancer awareness month.

How to prevent ovarian cancer?

1. Avoid the risks factors

Having a family history or genetic mutation that runs in your family is something that you cannot prevent or control. For this condition when your family or a close relative has or previously had ovarian cancer, you must have a BRCA gene test. This test will help you know if you carry the mutation and what chances you have for developing ovarian cancer.

Once you know that you carry the mutation, try avoiding factors that may trigger the cancer development. For instance, you must opt for balanced diet, healthy and stress free lifestyle, avoiding alcohol and narcotics. Moreover, you will have to avoid hormonal replacement therapy after menopause. Therefore, knowing the risk factors is always a wise choice.

2. Gynecological surgery

Tubal ligation and hysterectomy may prevent development of ovarian cancer in certain cases. Hysterectomy is surgical removal of all parts of uterus. On the other hand,  tubal ligation involves blocking of fallopian tube. This basically prevents the eggs to travel down the reproductive track to reach ovaries. The purpose is to prevent pregnancy.

Both cases results in early menopause. Therefore, experts do not suggest these options as primary choice. Also, it depend on the person that either she is willing to remove uterus and ovaries functions.

Therefore, you must know and discuss all the potential risk factors of surgical removal of ovaries to prevent cancer development.

3. Oral contraceptives pills

Oral contraceptive or birth control pills reduce the risks factors for ovarian cancer in young females with average risks factors. Moreover, for the carriers of one of BRCA gene, this option is quiet suitable. Studies suggest that women who use contraceptive pills for about five years are at 50% lower risks of ovarian cancer than those who do not.

However, using birth control pills for long period is something that you must discuss with your gynecologist as there are many possible health risks of birth control pills as well.

4. Have a family history of ovarian cancer?

As suggested earlier that family history of BRCA mutations significantly adds up to ovarian cancer risks.

Genetic testing along with genetic counseling are the options you must have if you have a family history of BRCA mutation. Genetic testing evaluates your genetic susceptibility. Likewise, the genetic counseling helps you for what you should do further.

5. Lifestyle choices

For those having higher risk factors for developing cancer, lifestyle choices matter a lot. Your lifestyle may reduce or even add up to your ovarian cancer risks.

  • Balanced diet

No doubt food choices matter a lot for maintaining good health. Having balanced diet helps you lower the risk of cancer. Diet choices which strengthen the immune system fight the infections much better and prevent abnormal cell’s development as in cancer.

  • Exercise

Obesity is linked to various health issues. Therefore, it’s better to maintain a normal BMI by balanced diet and routine exercise.

6. Self awareness

Being proactive is the key to good health. No matter if you are BRCA mutation positive or have family history even if you are at average risks, self awareness is must.

You should have regular medical examination by your gynecologists and be aware of the symptoms and changes in your body. The symptoms are similar to periods such as:

  • Bloating
  • Frequent Urination
  • Bleeding
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Others such as fatigue and cramps

Bottom line

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are sometimes difficult to notice. Genetic testing and self awareness is key steps to prevent ovarian cancer development to much extent.  You need be extra careful and proactive if your family member or some close relative has a history of ovarian cancer. Consider these preventive steps to enjoy a healthy life.