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Ovarian Cancer Prevention

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Currently, there is no consistently reliable, accurate screening test to detect ovarian cancer. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer or carry a BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation, we can help you develop an ovarian cancer prevention strategy. The Basser Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine offers genetic screening and counseling for BRCA-related cancers.

Genetic counseling for ovarian cancer

Genetic counseling can predict the likelihood of having a gene mutation associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. If you are found to carry one of these gene mutations, we can help you determine a prevention strategy for you and, if necessary, your children.

Oral contraceptives to prevent ovarian cancer

If you have a BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic mutation, oral contraceptives (also called “the birth-control pill”) may reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by about 50 percent. However, this treatment may also increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Research continues to examine the risks and benefits of oral contraceptives in relation to ovarian cancer.

Preventive surgery for ovarian cancer

If you are at an extremely high risk for ovarian cancer, preventive surgery to remove your ovaries may be recommended. If you have a BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation, removing your ovaries before menopause can decrease your risk of ovarian cancer up to 95 percent and your risk of breast cancer up to 60 percent.