Learn More About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women worldwide. Ovarian cancer incidence rates are greater in high than in middle- to low-income countries. Risk increases with age, although the rate of increase slows after the menopause.

The ovaries are the sites of ovum (egg) production in women. They are also the main source of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in premenopausal women. There are three types of ovarian tissue that can produce cancers: epithelial cells, which cover the ovary; stromal cells, which produce hormones; and germ cells, which become ova.

AICR’S latest report on ovarian cancer found that maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk.

Lifestyle and Ovarian Cancer Risk

Weight: Greater body fatness is probably a cause of ovarian cancer.

  • Obesity influences the levels of a number of hormones and growth factors. Circulating concentrations of insulin and leptin are elevated in obese people, and both can promote the growth of cancer cells.
  • Sex steroid hormones, including estrogens androgens, and progesterone, are likely to play a role in obesity and cancer.
  • Obesity is characterized by a low-grade chronic inflammatory state. Such chronic inflammation can promote cancer development.

Adult-attained height: There is probable evidence that developmental factors leading to greater height may increase risk.