What Affects My Risk for Ovarian Cancer?

Within the general population of women, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is less than 2%. A family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer greatly increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The lifetime risk for developing ovarian cancer is between 20-40% for women who have a BRCA1 gene mutation and 10-20% for women who have a BRCA2 gene mutation. Approximately 1 in 300 women have a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes that they have inherited from a first-degree family member.  Click to learn more about the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (and other genes that may increase risk for ovarian cancer).

 

Mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are not the only risk factors for ovarian cancer. Other factors related to a woman’s reproductive history can also impact her chances of developing ovarian cancer. A summary of these risk factors and their link to ovarian cancer are shown below.  Although there are many factors that can influence ovarian cancer risk, having a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes has the biggest impact.

Risk Factor Chart

Within the general population of women, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is less than 2%. The figures above indicate by how much a woman’s risk (for both HGSC and non-serous and low-grade serous ovarian cancer) is increased or decreased by a variety of risk factors. BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation is the greatest risk factor for developing high-grade serous ovarian cancer.  For example, when you multiply the general lifetime risk of (less than) 2% times 25, we find that a woman can have up to a 50% chance of developing high grade serous cancer, sometime over her lifetime.