Teal Talk Day: What To Know If Ovarian Cancer Runs In Your Family

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How To Manage Your Risk

Female gynecologist doctor obtaining a cervical smear

Source: Anchiy / Getty

While the medical community is still developing better ways to screen for this cancer, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing it, or increase your chances of finding it early.

  • Get regular exams. During your annual women’s health exam, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, she’ll feel the uterus and ovaries, looking for inconsistencies in shape and size. Any detected changes can be a sign that further testing should be done.
  • Take birth control pills. The NCI reports that women who have taken birth control pills have a 30 to 50 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have never taken oral contraceptives.
  • Preventative surgery. When women test positive for the genetic mutations associated with ovarian cancer, some choose to undergo something called a salpingo-oophorectomy. This is the surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Some insurance companies consider this to be elective if cancer is not present, so speak to your doctor about your options if you are interested in the surgery.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is associated with a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
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