Who's Most at Risk for Ovarian Cancer?

Sep 05, 2023
Who's Most at Risk for Ovarian Cancer?
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, making it especially timely for us to review who’s most at risk for developing ovarian cancer. Also learn how to detect symptoms of it as soon as possible.

The ovaries are the two reproductive glands that produce eggs and the hormones progesterone and estrogen. Ovarian cancer develops when abnormal cell growth forms a tumor in the ovaries, and the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. 

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States, and about 1.1% of women receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Unfortunately, ovarian cancer doesn’t often present with symptoms until it has reached its later stages. In fact, only about 20% of ovarian cancer cases are detected early. 


That’s why Carrie Cogley, APRN, and our team at Primrose Women’s Health in Dayton, Ohio, want you to understand what puts you at risk for ovarian cancer so you can be on high alert for early symptoms of ovarian cancer and lessen your risk for serious health complications. 

Risk factors for ovarian cancer

While it’s unknown what exactly causes ovarian cancer, these factors can increase your chance of developing it:

  • Family medical history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Personal medical history of uterine, breast, or colon cancer
  • Being pregnant later in life or never being pregnant
  • Using hormone replacement therapy
  • Having endometriosis
  • Obesity

In addition, as you get older, your risk for ovarian cancer goes up. Studies show that half of ovarian cancer cases are in women over the age of 63

Recognizing early symptoms of ovarian cancer

It’s common for early symptoms of ovarian cancer to resemble other conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, if ovarian cancer is the culprit, these symptoms only get worse over time.

This can include symptoms like:

  • Pelvic pressure and pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite

If these symptoms last longer than two weeks, it’s vital that you seek medical care and get tested for ovarian cancer. This is especially important if you’re already in the high-risk category.  

Stay up-to-date on cancer screenings

A great way to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer complications is by coming in to see us annually. 

We can review symptoms you might be experiencing and talk about any health changes that might increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer. Pelvic exams are part of those annual visits and can also be helpful when it comes to early cancer detection.

To schedule your next wellness visit with us, give us a call at 937-345-0009 or schedule an appointment online today.