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birth control pills and ovarian cancer

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2006

I am new to this chat room. My mother and aunt both passed away from ovarian cancer and I am trying to get advice on birth control and getting my ovaries removed. I was on birth control pills for 15 years and recently got off of them. I was tired of being on hormones and am also concerned about the risk of breast cancer. I am also considering getting my ovaries taken out when I get into my later 40's. Can anyone give me any feedback on this as I would greatly appreciate any input.



jamilou's picture
Posts: 201
Joined: Mar 2005

My mother (age 63 at diagnosis) and I (age 40 at diagnosis) both had ovarian cancer and my Doctor suggested that as soon as both of my daughters turned 18 that they start birth control. It is the only prevention other than removing the ovaries. I am not saying that you can't get it while on birth control but studies suggest that it lessens your chances. What age were your mom and aunt when they were diagnosed? When my cancer was discovered at 40 my sisters ages 42,44 and 46 all had a complete hysterectomy within 2 years. Thier doctors felt that it was too risky not to because of the family history. What does your doctor say? I hope this helps. Good luck with your decision!

Posts: 650
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Erin,

Birth control (pills) may lessen the chance of developing ovarian cancer because the ovaries haven't ruptured as much as in a woman who hasn't taken them. It's thought that the repeated rupturing of the outer layer of the ovary increases the chance of it not "healing" properly. That's the theory, anyway.

I know a woman whose sisters had a prophylactic hysterectomy/oopherectomy after they were all found to be positive for the BRCA gene. That's a tough way to go about making the decision, I think. I'm still not sure that sort of information can't make it out into places it shouldn't go to.

If your mother and aunt were fairly "young" for ovarian cancer - I guess that means under the age of 50, it might indicate that your family is carrying a defect. If your father's side of the family had any, you'd have a much greater chance.

If you have health insurance, the company may cover the cost of a prophylactic hysterectomy/oopherectomy. It's much more cost effective for them to pay for that than for cancer treatment. Because uterine cancer is more prevalent than ovarian, I'd suggest considering having all removed.

rolland72's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2006

I am a ovarian and uterine cancer survivor. I took birth control for years. It was not the cause of my cancer but did cause a pulmonary embolism. Beware of this risk also!

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