By Dr Amit Verma
Ovarian cancer is the third most common gynaecological cancer in India with an incidence of 5.4 to 8 per 100,000 women. It is a leading cause of cancer death in women. This disease has a poor prognosis because most often it is diagnosed in Stage III or IV due to early symptoms not being identifiable. Hence, it is often called a ‘silent killer’. A few lifestyle changes can certainly help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer significantly.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer as excess weight increases the release of hormones which further promotes cancer cell growth. Consuming a fresh, home-cooked, vegetarian, and healthy balanced diet, and daily physical exercise can help achieve the same.
- Adequate Vitamin D levels in the body plays an important role in ovarian cancer prevention by regulating cell proliferation and metabolism. High vitamin D food intake, supplements and sunlight exposure (specifically UV-B radiation) may potentially be an efficient way of preventing ovarian cancer.
- Communicate family history to your doctor if anyone in your family has had ovarian cancer. This is because nearly 10 per cent of cancers are hereditary. Genetic tests can be done by collecting blood samples to find out if there is a genetic variation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes to see whether there is a high risk of developing ovarian and/or breast cancer.
- Be aware of pelvic infections and undergo regular check ups by gynaecologists, especially after the age of 35 years. Using condoms and keeping a good gut and vaginal microbiome, early detection of asymptomatic infections, and appropriate treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, especially if recurrent in younger women, could not only prevent chronic pelvic pain and tubal infertility, but can also theoretically prevent ovarian cancer.
- Avoid feminine hygiene products as it has been observed that using vaginal douching can also possibly force tissue, menstrual fluids, or harmful bacteria up the reproductive tract, resulting in pelvic inflammation of the fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries. This inflammation can potentially contribute to ovarian cancer risk.
(The author is a molecular oncologist and cancer geneticist at Dr AV Cancer Institute of Personalized Cancer Therapy and Research, Gurgaon)
[Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, and views of ABP News Network Pvt Ltd.]
Check out below Health Tools-
Calculate Your Body Mass Index ( BMI )