Health A-Z

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Prevention

Women who take birth control pills cut their risk of ovarian cancer in half, possibly because these drugs prevent ovulation. (Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary each month.) The protective effect of the pill is greatest in women who use it for four years or longer. Breast-feeding, which also reduces the number of times a woman ovulates, may trim the risk of ovarian cancer.

Women who know that they carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene might consider having their ovaries removed before cancer develops.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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