Hereditary Ovarian Cancer


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1:75 women develop ovarian cancer each year.1

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20%-25% of ovarian cancer is hereditary.2

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is caused by abnormal cells that grow in the ovaries, the organs in women that store eggs and produce hormones for reproduction. In about 90 percent of cases, ovarian cancer occurs after age 40, and most cases occur after age 60.

Female reproductive system

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer from the American Cancer Society.


A Note on Cervical Cancer

"Cervix" is the name for the opening of the uterus. Even though it's part of the same reproductive system, cervical cancer is not the same as uterine or ovarian cancer. Cervical cancer is generally not hereditary. It is primarily caused by a virus called HPV, which is transmitted sexually.

Could I have an increased risk for hereditary ovarian cancer?

Risk factors for inherited ovarian cancer include:

  • Breast cancer or colon cancer diagnosed before the age of 50 (especially if there is a family history of other women with young breast cancers)
  • Multiple family members with breast cancer or colon cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry (Eastern European Jewish Ancestry)
  • Prostate cancer (Gleason score greater than 7)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • A known gene mutation in your family

If you have a strong family history of ovarian, prostate, pancreas, breast and/or colorectal cancers, you should ask your doctor about a cancer risk assessment.


Concerned that hereditary cancer might run in your family?

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