Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries. The ovaries are the female reproductive organs that produce eggs.
Cancer - ovaries
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women. It causes more deaths than any other type of female reproductive organ cancer.
The cause of ovarian cancer is unknown.
Risk of developing ovarian cancer include any of the following:
- The fewer children a woman has and the later in life she gives birth, the higher her risk of ovarian cancer.
- Women who have had breast cancer or have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer have an increased risk of ovarian cancer (due to defects in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes).
- Women who take estrogen replacement only (not with progesterone) for 5 years or more may have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Birth control pills, though, decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Fertility medicine probably does not increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Older women are at highest risk of developing ovarian cancer. Most deaths from ovarian cancer occur in women age 55 and older.