Thursday, September 11, 2008

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

The majority of ovarian cancers are not attributable to hereditary causes. However, ovarian cancer can be hereditary in some families. Some of the factors that increase the likelihood that cancers in a family are hereditary are: early onset of cancer, more than one primary (new) cancer in an individual, the same cancer in two or more close relatives, unusual presentation of cancer (breast cancer in a male), and related cancers (such as breast and ovarian cancer) found in the same family. Women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are also at greater risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. There are several genes linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Two of the most common hereditary cancer syndromes associated with ovarian cancer risk are listed below:

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA1 and BRCA2)

Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) sometimes called Lynch syndrome

Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, particularly epithelial ovarian cancer, may wish to consider genetic counseling and testing. To find a genetic counselor closer to you please visit and click on the link on the left "find a counselor."

For more information about ovarian cancer please visit