Cancer screening exams can help find cancer at its earliest stage when the chances for successful treatment, optimal outcomes and fewer side effects are greatest. These tests are usually done when a patient is healthy and has no specific symptoms.

Not only are expert cancer researchers at the OSUCCC – James continually working to detect and diagnose ovarian cancer early, but they are also developing additional tests to detect and diagnose cancer even earlier, leading to improved outcomes, faster responses and fewer side effects. 

Unlike with some cancers, there are currently no recommended screening exams for ovarian cancer. Several possible methods are being researched that could improve early screening for the disease. The best early detection of ovarian cancer is to understand the symptoms and risk factors of the disease and see a doctor immediately if you have any concerns.

Women at high risk for ovarian cancer because of hereditary patterns should consider genetic analysis for prevention and early detection.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of developing ovarian cancer. The following factors increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer:

Family History of Ovarian Cancer

Women whose mother or sister had ovarian cancer have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Women with two or more relatives with ovarian cancer also have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Inherited Risk

The risk of ovarian cancer is increased in women who have inherited certain changes in the following genes:

  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
  • Genes that are linked to Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC))

Personal History of Cancer

Women who have had cancer of the breast, uterus, colon or rectum have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Age over 55

Most women are over age 55 when diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Never Pregnant

Older women who have never been pregnant have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Menopausal Hormone Therapy

Some studies have suggested that women who take estrogen by itself (estrogen without progesterone) for 10 or more years may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

The presence of risk factors does not necessarily mean you have or will develop ovarian cancer. But if you have risk factors you should discuss them with your doctor.


If you have received an ovarian cancer diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to an ovarian cancer specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.


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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066