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Ovarian Cancer Prevention and Screening

Ovarian Cancer Screening

Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re at risk but don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are highest.
While no standardized screening tests have been shown to improve ovarian cancer outcomes, MD Anderson is working to change that. CA-125, a cancer biomarker being studied at MD Anderson, is showing promise as a screening test.

MD Anderson recommends that women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer be screened regularly. You are considered high risk if you have:

  • Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also called Lynch syndrome
  • Hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene

Read more about MD Anderson’s screening recommendations for ovarian cancer.

If you have ovarian cancer, genetic counseling is recommended if you have:

  • Had breast cancer
  • Relatives who have had ovarian cancer
  • Relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
  • Two or more relatives who had breast cancer at any age
  • Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry
  • A relative with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
  • Read more about hereditary cancer syndromes

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Innovative ovarian cancer treatments, including targeted therapies
  • Highly skilled and experienced surgeons
  • Genetic testing for women at high-risk of ovarian cancer
  • Specialized care for rare ovarian cancers
  • Treatment for benign ovarian tumors
  • Nationally recognized ovarian cancer research program with multiple clinical trials
  • Aggressive ovarian cancer is part of MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program: an ambitious effort to reduce cancer deaths through the rapid discovery and implementation of new treatments

Ovarian Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Ovarian cancer is treated in our:

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Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting ovarian cancer is a risk factor. These include:

  • Age: The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age. About half of ovarian cancers are in women over 60.
  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • Genetic factors: Approximately 10% to 15% of ovarian cancers are due to genes that make you more likely to develop cancer.
  • Never having children. The more children you have, the less likely you are to develop ovarian cancer.

Not everyone with risk factors gets ovarian cancer. However, if you have risk factors, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider.

Ovarian Cancer Prevention

Research shows that many cancers can be prevented. Visit the Prevention section of our website to find out steps you can take to avoid cancer.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center