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Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version

Who Is at Risk?

Ovarian cancer is rare. The incidence rate for ovarian cancer between 2006 and 2010 was 12.5 cases per 100,000 women.[1] Women with a family history of ovarian cancer are at increased risk, and those with an inherited predisposition to ovarian cancer, such as a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, have a very high risk of developing ovarian cancer (refer to the Lynch syndrome section in the PDQ summary on Genetics of Breast and Gynecologic Cancers for more information). Other risk factors for ovarian cancer include obesity, nulliparity, and use of postmenopausal hormone therapy. Factors associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer include use of oral contraceptives, multiple pregnancies, breast-feeding, and tubal ligation.[2-5]


  1. Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al., eds.: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2010. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, 2013. Also available online. Last accessed April 06, 2015.
  2. Garg PP, Kerlikowske K, Subak L, et al.: Hormone replacement therapy and the risk of epithelial ovarian carcinoma: a meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol 92 (3): 472-9, 1998. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Lacey JV Jr, Mink PJ, Lubin JH, et al.: Menopausal hormone replacement therapy and risk of ovarian cancer. JAMA 288 (3): 334-41, 2002. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Mills PK, Riordan DG, Cress RD, et al.: Hormone replacement therapy and invasive and borderline epithelial ovarian cancer risk. Cancer Detect Prev 29 (2): 124-32, 2005. [PUBMED Abstract]
  5. Calle EE, Rodriguez C, Walker-Thurmond K, et al.: Overweight, obesity, and mortality from cancer in a prospectively studied cohort of U.S. adults. N Engl J Med 348 (17): 1625-38, 2003. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: April 3, 2015