Although the scientific community is still trying to pinpoint exactly what causes ovarian cancer, researchers have identified numerous risk factors. Having one or more of these risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman will get ovarian cancer - it simply means that she has a higher chance of developing the malignancy. Some women with no known risk factors get ovarian cancer, while many others with multiple risk factors never develop the disease.
One of the most significant risk factors is having a genetic predisposition for ovarian cancer, namely, a genetic mutation in either breast cancer gene one or breast cancer gene two (BRCA1 and BRCA2, respectively). Approximately 10% to 15% of ovarian cancer cases are caused by this type of mutation. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes help repair damaged DNA, and if a mutation stops them from performing this function, it can sometimes lead to cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can be inherited from either parent or result from exposure to radiation or certain other chemicals.
The team to choose for ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment
As noted above, having a genetic predisposition for ovarian cancer (or any other ovarian cancer risk factors) does not necessarily mean that you have the malignancy or that you’ll develop it in the future. But if you’re worried about developing ovarian cancer, you can get the help you need at Moffitt Cancer Center.
If you’d like to know whether you’re genetically predisposed to ovarian cancer, you can take advantage of our comprehensive genetic risk assessment services. If you’re concerned that you may already have ovarian cancer, we also offer first-rate diagnostic services. We can diagnose ovarian cancer using a variety of methods, such as pelvic examinations, imaging tests, blood tests and biopsies. And if it turns out that you do have ovarian cancer, the experts at our Center for Women’s Oncology will create a treatment plan based on your specific needs.