Ovarian cancer is the third most commonly known cancer among Indian women, ahead of breast and cervical cancer. Though genes and genetic history is believed to play a vital role in women developing ovarian cancer, it may spread from the fallopian tubes as well. Genetic tests may help patients in estimating the extent of risk of developing ovarian cancer. For patients who may need surgery, Dr. Amish Dalal, an acclaimed Surgical Oncologist currently practicing at Jaslok Hospital with 30 years of experience in the field, recommends the necessary line of treatment.
Factors that may increase the risk of ovarian cancer:
Some commonly recognised risk factors that may lead to ovarian cancer:
• Age: It usually affects women who have been through menopause, that is, above the age of 50, though it may develop among younger women as well.
• Family history: A woman with more than one relative affected by ovarian cancer from the same side of the family, may be at a higher risk of developing the disease. The increased risk of being affected by cancer in the ovary is commonly believed to be the result of a faulty gene, BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Women with an enhanced risk of cancer in their genes are advised to opt for a genetic testing. Genetic counseling, conducted by healthcare professionals, evaluates the family history and personal medical condition of individuals. They are trained to review the likely presence of the gene mutations that are closely associated with the increased risk of ovarian cancer. For medical tests that indicate that further treatments may be required apart from chemotherapy, Dr. Amish Dalal advises the necessary future course of treatment.
• Hormonal changes: Early puberty, that is, commencement of menstruation before the age of 12, and late menopause, or the onset of the same after the age of 50, may enhance the risk of women developing ovarian cancer.
• History of child-bearing: Women who have issues in conceiving, have not had children, conceived after the age of 30, or have never used oral contraceptives are believed to be at a marginally greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. This may be due to the ovary being exposed to the frequent process of break and repair of its surface owing to monthly ovulation.
• Unhealthy lifestyle: Being overweight due to a high fat diet or smoking may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
• Endometriosis: When the ‘endometrium’ or the tissue lining the uterus is also present on the outer surface of the organ, it may increase the risk of the development of cancer in the ovary. Doctor Amish Dalal analyses the existing medical condition of patients being administered chemotherapy and recommends a surgery, if necessary.
Factors that may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer
Some commonly recognised factors that may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer:
• Opting for a surgery for the removal of both the ovaries, Tubal Ligation (a surgery for getting both the tubes tied) or hysterectomy may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. But these surgeries should be undertaken only on valid medical reasons rather than for reducing the risk of developing cancer in the ovary. Studies conducted till date are inconclusive about the prospect of Tubal Ligation being an effective surgical procedure for reducing the risk of ovarian cancer. If a patient undergoing hysterectomy has a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, the surgical oncologist may consider removing both the ovaries and the fallopian tube. Dr. Amish Vasant Dalal assesses the medical condition of his patients and recommends surgery accordingly.
• Using birth control pills or oral contraceptives for five years or more may reduce the risk of the disease. However, it is mandatory that women consult their doctor before consuming these pills as they may be accompanied by possible risks like increased chances of breast cancer
• Having conceived and given birth before the age of 30 may also reduce the risk of the disease.
• Breastfeeding for at least a year may slightly reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer
Patients diagnosed with malignant tumours can book an appointment with Amish Dalal at Jaslok Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital, Bhatia General Hospital, Saifee Hospital or Parsee General Hospital.
Book an appointment today.