Women, who have an immediate relative (mother, sister, or daughter) diagnosed with ovarian cancer are at higher risk of developing the disease. The risk increases among women who have a second-degree relative (a grandmother or an aunt) and an immediate relative diagnosed with the disease, and may be further increased if two or more immediate relatives have had this type of cancer. Some cancers are caused by inherited gene mutations.
Approximately 90% of women who developed ovarian cancer have sporadic mutations that occur within their own lifetime. About 5 % to 10% of all ovarian cancer cases are believed to be associated with genetic factors. There are three known inheritance models: ovarian cancer, ovarian cancer with a concomitant breast cancer, and ovarian cancer with a concomitant colorectal cancer.
Special tests for the detection of such genetic mutations have been developed for women at higher risk of contracting the disease. Genetic counseling and a carefully conducted family history can help identify an individual’s risk of carrying a cancer gene.
Women who belong to a high-risk group have a number of surgical and non-surgical options that may greatly decrease their chances of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.