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Is ovarian cancer hereditary?

Is ovarian cancer hereditary

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the ovaries and / or the fallopian tubes and peritoneum, which are all part of the female reproductive system. It can be difficult to detect in its early stages, which makes it even more important to raise awareness on the symptoms and risk factors for this illness. 

In this article, we’ll explore what ovarian cancer is, the different types, signs and symptoms to look out for, and what you can do to reduce your risk.


What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the ovaries. The ovaries are located in the pelvic cavity (one on each side of the uterus) and are responsible for producing eggs and hormones. When cells in the ovaries start to grow and divide uncontrollably, they can form a tumor that may be cancerous. 


Types of Ovarian Cancer

There are several different types of ovarian cancer, including epithelial tumors (the most common type), germ cell tumors, and stromal tumors.


Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Unfortunately, ovarian cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages, as many of the symptoms are vague and can be mistaken for other conditions. However, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for, including:

  • Bloating or swelling in the abdomen
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Changes in bowel habits (such as constipation)
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge


Early Signs of Ovarian Cancer

In addition to the above symptoms, there are some early signs of ovarian cancer that may be easier to detect. These include:

  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Increased urination
  • Unintentional Weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a few weeks, it’s important to talk to your doctor.


Prevention for Ovarian Cancer

While there’s no surefire way to prevent ovarian cancer, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. These include:

  • Using birth control pills: Women who have used oral contraceptives have up to 50% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who have never used oral contraceptives [1] In addition, women who carry a harmful mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene also experience a decrease in the risk of ovarian cancer when using oral contraceptives [2]
  • Having children: According to the American Cancer Society, Women who have given birth have a lower risk of ovarian cancer in comparison to those who have never been pregnant. It’s noted that the risk progressively decreases with each pregnancy carried to term. [3]
  • Breastfeeding can also reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and diet: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Quitting smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.


Genetic Testing for Ovarian Cancer

BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have been linked to a higher risk of hereditary ovarian cancer and breast cancer.[4]

Certain genetic mutations can increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer or other related cancers (such as breast or colon cancer), a genetic test might be an excellent step towards prevention. 

The GalaxyDNA Test is an advanced genetic testing tool that offers valuable insights into your unique DNA code, including your genetic predisposition towards Ovarian Cancer and other diseases. This cutting-edge technology is paving the way for the future of preventative medicine, providing individuals with vital information about their health and risk factors, enabling them to take proactive steps towards a healthier future. By harnessing the power of genetic testing, individuals can take control of their health and make informed decisions about their lifestyle choices and healthcare options. So, whether you’re looking to gain insights into your risk for Ovarian Cancer or simply interested in understanding more about your genetic makeup, the GalaxyDNA Test is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in taking a proactive approach to their health and well-being.

In conclusion, ovarian cancer is a serious disease that can be difficult to detect in its early stages. However, by knowing the signs and symptoms, taking preventative measures, and getting regular check-ups, you can reduce your risk of developing this type of cancer. If you’re concerned about your risk, talk to your doctor about genetic testing and other preventative measures.

*GalaxyDNA Test is aimed for informational purposes only. This test does not replace additional diagnostic tests or procedures. 



[1] IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Pharmaceuticals. Combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptivesIARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans 2012; 100A:283–311.

[2],[3] Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors. (n.d.). Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors.

[4] Ford, D., Easton, D. F., Stratton, M., Narod, S., Goldgar, D., Devilee, P., Bishop, D. T., Weber, B., Lenoir, G., Chang-Claude, J., Sobol, H., Teare, M. D., Struewing, J., Arason, A., Scherneck, S., Peto, J., Rebbeck, T. R., Tonin, P., Neuhausen, S., Barkardottir, R., … Zelada-Hedman, M. (1998). Genetic heterogeneity and penetrance analysis of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in breast cancer families. The Breast Cancer Linkage Consortium. American journal of human genetics, 62(3), 676–689. 



GalaxyDNA Team


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