The UK has one of the highest rates of ovarian cancer in Europe; developed nations, in general, have much higher instances of the disease than developing countries, Japan being the exception. |
This has led experts to consider the possibility that a ‘western’ diet - generally high in saturated animal fat - may be a risk factor, though this has yet to be conclusively proven.
Family history of cancer is important. Women with two or more close relatives who have had ovarian cancer, or those who carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 - genes known to be associated with increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer - are more likely to be at high risk. Women whose families have a history of bowel cancer in younger members may also be at greater risk.
Family medical history did hold such a clue for Lamden, whose mother had died of ovarian cancer. At-risk women can consider genetic counseling and take steps to reduce their chances of developing the disease, such as preventive surgery to remove both ovaries.
Other factors that increase your risk slightly may be hormone replacement therapy, the use of talcum powder in the genital area, fertility treatment (although evidence is contradictory), and having ovarian cysts or endometriosis at a young age. Obesity can also raise a post-menopausal woman’s risk substantially. Finally, women who don’t have children are at greater risk than women who have had three children or more.