©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Prevention

Ovarian Fallopian Tube Primary Peritoneal Cancer Related Articles

Facts on Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Prevention

What Is Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer?

  • Ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or peritoneum.
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system.
  • Ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or peritoneum.

The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries make eggs and female hormones (chemicals that control the way certain cells or organs work in the body).

The fallopian tubes are a pair of long, slender tubes, one on each side of the uterus. Eggs pass from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, to the uterus. Cancer sometimes begins at the end of the fallopian tube near the ovary and spreads to the ovary.

The peritoneum is the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers organs in the abdomen. Primary peritoneal cancer is cancer that forms in the peritoneum and has not spread there from another part of the body. Cancer sometimes begins in the peritoneum and spreads to the ovary.

Who Is at Risk for Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system.

In recent years, there has been a small decrease in the number of new cases of ovarian cancer and the number of deaths from ovarian cancer. New cases of ovarian cancer and deaths from ovarian cancer are higher among white women than black women, but have decreased in both groups.

Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer and/or certain inherited gene changes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene changes, have a higher risk than women who do not have a family history or who have not inherited these gene changes. For women with inherited risk, genetic counseling and genetic testing can be used to find out more about how likely they are to develop ovarian cancer.

It is hard to find ovarian cancer early. Early ovarian cancer may not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, ovarian cancer is often advanced.

Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer.

Avoiding cancer risk factors may help prevent certain cancers. Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.

SLIDESHOW

Skin Cancer Symptoms, Types, Images See Slideshow

What Are the Risk Factors for Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer?

The following are risk factors for ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer:

  • Family history of ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer
  • A woman whose mother or sister had ovarian cancer has an increased risk of ovarian cancer. A woman with two or more relatives with ovarian cancer also has an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Inherited risk

The risk of ovarian cancer is increased in women who have inherited certain changes in the BRCA1, BRCA2, or other genes.

The risk of ovarian cancer is also increased in women who have certain inherited syndromes that include:

  • Familial site-specific ovarian cancer syndrome.
  • Familial breast/ovarian cancer syndrome.
  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC; Lynch syndrome).

Hormone replacement therapy

The use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause is linked to a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who are taking HRT or have taken HRT within the past 3 years. The risk of ovarian cancer increases the longer a woman uses estrogen-only HRT. When hormone therapy is stopped, the risk of ovarian cancer decreases over time.

It is not clear whether there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer with the use of HRT that has both estrogen and progestin.

Weight and height

Being overweight or obese during the teenage years is linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Being obese is linked to an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer. Being tall (5'8" or taller) may also be linked to a slight increase in the risk of ovarian cancer.

It Is Not Clear Whether the Following Affect the Risk of Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer

Diet

Studies of dietary factors including various foods, teas, and nutrients have not found a strong link to ovarian cancer.

Alcohol

Studies have not shown a link between drinking alcohol and the risk of ovarian cancer.

Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Some studies of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have found a decreased risk of ovarian cancer and others have not.

Smoking

Some studies found a very small increased risk of one rare type of ovarian cancer in women who were current smokers compared with women who never smoked.

Talc

Studies of women who used talcum powder (talc) dusted on the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) have not found clear evidence of an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Infertility treatment

Overall, studies in women using fertility drugs have not found clear evidence of an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Risk of ovarian borderline malignant tumors may be higher in women who take fertility drugs. The risk of invasive ovarian cancer may be higher in women who do not get pregnant after taking fertility drugs.

How Can I Prevent Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer?

Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.

To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.

Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get cancer.

Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:

  • Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
  • Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
  • Taking medicines to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting.

What Are Protective Factors for Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer?

The following are protective factors for ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer:

Oral contraceptives

Taking oral contraceptives (“the pill”) lowers the risk of ovarian cancer. The longer oral contraceptives are used, the lower the risk may be. The decrease in risk may last up to 30 years after a woman has stopped taking oral contraceptives.

Taking oral contraceptives increases the risk of blood clots. This risk is higher in women who also smoke.

Tubal ligation

The risk of ovarian cancer is decreased in women who have a tubal ligation (surgery to close both fallopian tubes).

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is linked to a decreased risk of ovarian cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower her risk of ovarian cancer.

Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy

Some women who have a high risk of ovarian cancer may choose to have a risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (surgery to remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries when there are no signs of cancer). This includes women who have inherited certain changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes or have an inherited syndrome.

It is very important to have a cancer risk assessment and counseling before making this decision. These and other factors may be discussed:

These symptoms may not be the same in all women. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be used to lessen these symptoms.

Risk of ovarian cancer in the peritoneum: Women who have had a risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy continue to have a small risk of ovarian cancer in the peritoneum (thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen). This may occur if ovarian cancer cells had already spread to the peritoneum before the surgery or if some ovarian tissue remains after surgery.

Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.

Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Some cancer prevention trials are conducted with healthy people who have not had cancer but who have an increased risk for cancer. Other prevention trials are conducted with people who have had cancer and are trying to prevent another cancer of the same type or to lower their chance of developing a new type of cancer. Other trials are done with healthy volunteers who are not known to have any risk factors for cancer.

The purpose of some cancer prevention clinical trials is to find out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. These may include eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, quitting smoking, or taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms and Signs

The only early symptom of the disease can be menstrual irregularity. Symptoms that come later include the following:

  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Abdominal swelling and bloating
  • Urinary frequency
  • Constipation
  • Ascites: Collection of fluid in the abdomen, contributing to abdominal distension and shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling full after eating little
  • Gas and/or diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abnormalities in menstruation, pubertal development, and abnormal hair growth (with tumors that secrete hormones)
References
SOURCE:

The website of the National Cancer Institute (https://www.cancer.gov)

Updated Jan. 2016
CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW