Worried About Getting Ovarian Cancer- Lifestyle Modifications to Reduce Risk

June 13, 2024 Cancer Hub 21 Views

English हिन्दी

Worried About Getting Ovarian Cancer- Lifestyle Modifications to Reduce Risk

Ovarian cancer is a significant health concern for women worldwide. While the condition is less common than some other types of cancer, a late diagnosis can make the condition life-threatening. 

Understanding ovarian cancer, its risk factors, and how lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of developing this condition can improve the general health and overall quality of a woman’s life.

In this article, we will be discussing the various lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the risk of developing this cancer.

What is this cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, the reproductive glands found in women. 

The ovaries produce female eggs (ova) and hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer occurs when the cells in the ovaries start to grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. 

If undetected or untreated, the tumor can spread to other parts of the body (metastasize), complicating the treatment process and reducing the chances of survival.

What are the causes of this cancer?

The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, but it usually occurs due to genetic mutations that allow the cells in the ovaries to multiply rapidly. 

These mutations can be inherited or acquired during a person’s lifetime.

What are the risk factors of this cancer?

Some factors can increase the risk of developing this cancer, like:

  • Increase in age
  • After menopause 
  • Genetics
  • Family history of ovarian or breast cancer 
  • Women who have never been pregnant
  • Women who had their first pregnancy after 35 years of age
  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy 
  • Endometriosis ( Know more about- What is Endometriosis and its treatment? )
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity 
  • Women of Eastern European Jewish race

What are the symptoms of this cancer?

Some common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Quickly feeling full when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
  • Frequent urination

How to diagnose this cancer?

Ovarian cancer can be diagnosed using the following tests:

  • Pelvic Examination: The doctor checks for abnormalities in the ovaries and surrounding areas.
  • Imaging Tests: Ultrasounds and CT scans help visualize the ovaries and identify potential tumors.
  • Blood Tests: The CA-125 blood test can indicate higher levels of a protein often found in ovarian cancer patients.
  • Biopsy: The definitive diagnosis is made by examining tissue samples from the ovary under a microscope.

What is the treatment for this cancer?

The various treatment options for ovarian cancer are:

  • Surgery: The surgeon surgically removes as much of the tumor as possible. This can include removing one or both ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and sometimes the uterus.
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment involves the use of some medicines to kill any remaining cancer cells post-surgery or to shrink tumors before surgery. ( Know more about- Cost of Chemotherapy in Mumbai )
  • Targeted Therapy: The therapy involves the use of drugs that specifically target cancer cell mechanisms.
  • Radiation Therapy: High-powered energy beams may be used for killing the cancer cells. This treatment is less commonly used for cancer, but may be used in certain cases.

How do lifestyle modifications reduce the risk ?

While some risk factors, like genetics and age, cannot be controlled, several lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. The lifestyle modifications include:

Healthy diet and nutrition:

  • It is recommended to maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Obesity is linked to a higher risk of many cancers, including ovarian cancer. 
  • Processed and red meats, as well as foods high in sugar and fats, should be avoided or consumed in moderation. These can contribute to obesity and other health problems.
  • Consumption of foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, nuts, and leafy greens, may help protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer.

Regular physical activity:

  • Engaging in some form of regular exercise can help reduce body fat and inflammation, both of which are linked to cancer risk. 
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

Avoid smoking:

  • Smoking is a known risk factor for many cancers, including ovarian cancer.
  • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke can significantly lower your risk.

Hormonal considerations:

  • If you need hormone replacement therapy, discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits, and consider using the lowest dose for the shortest duration possible.
  • Studies suggest that long-term use of oral contraceptives may lower the risk of cancer. However, they have their own risks and should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Reproductive choices:

  • Some studies indicate that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Discuss family planning options with your doctor. Pregnancy and childbirth before age 35 may lower the risk of ovarian cancer development.

Regular medical check-ups:

  • If you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, consider genetic counseling and testing. 
  • Early detection of ovarian cancer through regular medical check-ups can be crucial.

Managing chronic conditions:

  • Managing conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may help reduce ovarian cancer risk.

Manage stress:

  • Chronic stress can negatively impact the immune system and overall health.
  • Practices like mindfulness meditation can reduce stress and improve mental well-being.
  • Doing a physical activity you enjoy doing can be a powerful stress reliever.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support overall health and reduce stress. ( Know more about- What are anti-anxiety drugs? )

We hope that we were able to answer all your questions about lifestyle modifications to reduce ovarian cancer risk through this article.

If you want more information about ovarian cancer, you can contact a good oncologist.

We only aim to give you information through the article and do not recommend any medication or treatment in any way. Only a qualified doctor can give you good advice because no one else is better than them.

Login to Health

Login to Health

Our team of writers is dedicated to the healthcare sector. We want our readers to have the best material to understand the health issue, learn about surgeries and procedures, consult the right doctors and finally make the right decision for their health.

Over 1 Million Users Visit Us Monthly

Join our email list to get the exclusive unpublished health content right in your inbox