Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Many people still hold the erroneous opinion that there are no symptoms of ovarian cancer. The literature is beginning to show that there can be warning symptoms.

  • Abdominal pressure, bloating or discomfort
  • Nausea, indigestion or gas
  • Urinary frequency, constipation or diarrhea
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Shortness of breath


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General  

Slight/intermittant/constant abdominal fullness

Symptoms - General  


Symptoms - Respiratory  

Sudden shortness of breath or air hunger

Conditions that suggest Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer





Endometriosis has been linked to the environmental contaminant dioxin and a lack of physical activity, both of which are associated with an increased ovarian cancer risk.


Risk factors for Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer


Problem Caused By Being Overweight

Examples of cancers linked to obesity are breast and ovarian cancer – it is thought that the excess estrogen produced by obese patients increases their chance of developing hormone-sensitive versions of these cancers.

Symptoms - Food - Beverages  

(High) coffee consumption

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.

Symptoms - Reproductive - Female Cycle  

Hysterectomy with both ovaries

Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer can lead to




Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer could instead be


IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often associated with the location of the tumor and its impact on the surrounding organs. Symptoms tend to be non-specific and can mimic non-gynecologic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Many of us experience these symptoms from time to time – do not be alarmed! But if they persist and are unusual for you, then seek a professional opinion.

Recommendations for Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer


Green / Oolong / BlackTea (Camellia sinensis)

Drinking tea can cut the risk of developing ovarian cancer by almost half, according to a major study by scientists in Sweden. Just two cups of tea a day was found to reduce the chance of the disease by 46%, the researchers found, after studying the records of more than 61,000 women over a period of about 15 years.

Laboratory research has found that black and green tea can protect against a range of cancers, but there have been few studies to look at the real incidence of cancers among drinkers and non-drinkers of the brew, until now. [Archives of Internal Medicine, Dec. 12, 2005]


Vegetarian/Vegan Diet

The intake of vegetable fiber, but not of fruit or cereal fiber, was found to be negatively associated with risk of ovarian cancer, with a 37% decrease in the odds for each 10gm per day addition. [Am J Epidemiol 139(11): S37, 1994]

Consumption of foods containing beta-carotene by 71 women with epithelial cancer of the ovary and 141 matched controls was investigated. Consumption of carrots was found to decrease risk. [Nutr Cancer 15: pp.239-47, 1991]


Fried Foods Avoidance

16,000 Seventh Day Adventist women who consumed eggs at least 3 times weekly, had a 3 times greater risk of fatal ovarian cancer than did women who ate eggs less than once weekly. Fish, chicken and potatoes were also positively associated with fatal ovarian cancer when they were fried. Consumption of fried eggs showed the strongest association with fatal ovarian cancer, perhaps due to interference with cholesterol biosynthesis and consequently the manufacture of ovarian hormones from the production of cytotoxic oxidation products of cholesterol. [ JAMA 254(3): pp.356-7, 1985]


Increased Fish Consumption

Study subjects who ate two or more servings of fish weekly had a much lower risk for esophageal, stomach, colon, rectum, and pancreatic cancers than those who avoided fish. In fact, the rates of these types of cancer were 30 to 50 percent lower among fish eaters. High fish consumption was also associated with lower risks for cancers of the larynx (30 percent lower risk), endometrial cancer (20 percent lower risk), and ovarian cancer (30 percent lower risk).


Animal/Saturated Fats Avoidance

630 women aged 35-79 with ovarian cancer were studied. Increasing saturated fat consumption was associated with an increasing risk of ovarian cancer. No relationship was seen with the intake of unsaturated fats. [J Natl Cancer Inst 86( 18): pp.1409-15, 1994]

450 histologically confirmed new primary epithelial ovarian cancer cases aged 35-79 were compared to 564 randomly selected population controls. Cholesterol from eggs was related to increased risk. [Am J Epidemiol 139(11): S37, 1994]


Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.


Chemical Avoidance

There is research indicating a potential link between the use of genital talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Thus, the use of talcum powder between the legs is not recommended.


Diindolylmethane DIM / Indole 3 Carbinol IC3

We all know that eating fruits, vegetables and soy products provides essential nutrition for a healthy lifestyle, while obesity leads to the opposite. Yet proving the effect of nutrition, or obesity, on cancer is an experimental challenge and a focus for scientists. According to emerging evidence being presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, eating well might still be one of the more pleasurable ways to prevent cancer and promote good health.

Eating such foods as broccoli and soy are believed to offer some protection against cancer, but how this occurs is not well-understood. Now, in laboratory experiments, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered a biological mechanism whereby two compounds in these foods might lower the invasive and metastatic potential of breast and ovarian cancer cells.

They found that diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound resulting from digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, a major isoflavone in soy, reduce production of two proteins whose chemotactic attraction to each other is necessary for the spread of breast and ovarian cancers.

When applying purified versions of DIM (diindolylmethane) and genistein to motile cancer cells, the researchers could literally watch these cells come to a near halt. When either compound was applied, migration and invasion were substantially reduced.

“We think these compounds might slow or prevent the metastasis of breast and ovarian cancer, which would greatly increase the effectiveness of current treatments,” said Erin Hsu, a graduate student in molecular toxicology. “But we need to test that notion in animals before we can be more definitive.”

Both diindolylmethane and genistein are already being developed for use as a preventive and a chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, although more extensive toxicological studies are necessary, the researchers say.


Sunlight / Light Exposure

Vitamin D metabolite receptors are found on endocrine and reproductive organs and are known to play a role in inhibiting a number of cancer cell lines. The incidence of ovarian cancer varies with latitude, with higher rates in northern parts of the world. In this study, the quantity of sunlight was strongly inversely correlated with the incidence of death due to ovarian cancer in 100 of the largest US cities (1979-88) after adjustments were made for air pollution levels. Northern women in the 5th decade of life were found to have 5 times the mortality rate from ovarian cancer as southern women. [Epidemiol 23 (6): pp.1133-36, 1994]


Aerobic Exercise

Researchers studied more than 2,100 women and found that those who exercised for more than 6 hours per week were 27% less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who exercised less than 1 hour each week. High activity levels were found to protect women of all ages. [Obstetrics and Gynecology 96: pp.609-14, October 2000]

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs  


Test / Monitor Hormone levels

Testing for estrogens and progesterone may help to properly evaluate breast and ovarian cancer risk as some estrogens will promote risk while progesterone may protect against this cancer risk.




20,305 American women were followed prospectively for 20 years. Initial serum selenium levels were inversely related to the risk of ovarian cancer. [J Natl Cancer Inst 88(1): pp.32-7, 1996]


Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
Reasonably likely to cause problems



Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.


Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.


Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.


Excessive discharge of contents of bowel.


A condition whereby endometrial tissue builds up in parts of the uterus where it does not belong or areas outside of the uterus, forming 'ectopic implants'. Unlike the normal tissue lining the uterus, ectopic tissue has no place to shed in response to a decline in estrogen and progesterone. This results in debris and blood accumulating at the site of the implant leading to inflammation, scarring and adhesions that ultimately cause symptoms and complications. Symptoms typically occur in a cyclic fashion with menstrual periods, the most common being pelvic pain and cramping before and during periods; pain during intercourse; inability to conceive; fatigue; painful urination during periods; gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.


One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

(IBS) A condition that causes upset intestines for a long period of time. It is very unpleasant to the sufferer but tends to be harmless and usually does not lead to more serious complaints. The symptoms vary from person to person and from day to day. In order to be diagnosed with IBS, a person must have at least three of the following symptoms: pain in the lower abdomen; bloating; constipation; diarrhea or alternating diarrhea and constipation; nausea; loss of appetite; tummy rumbling; flatulence; mucous in stools; indigestion; constant tiredness; frequent urination; low back pain; painful intercourse for women.

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