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An oncologist recommends these 4 things to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer

Updated on:6 April 2021, 18:08pm IST
Dr Rajendra A Kerkar talks about how certain lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Dr Rajendra A Kerkar
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ovarian cancer (1)
Changes to your lifestyle can keep you healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You probably know that lifestyle modifications such as a healthy diet and exercise can help prevent breast cancer. If you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you can also reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose since the presenting symptoms are entirely non-specific and unrelated to the female genital tract, i.e., dyspepsia, indigestion, flatulence, bloating, a sensation of fullness in the abdominopelvic area and occasionally, a palpable abdominal mass. The exact cause of ovarian cancer is not known.

Its incidence is, however, increasing in younger females even though it is typically associated with women in their mid to late forties and older. A strong family history of the breast, uterine and ovarian cancer triad accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of all cases. Although early detection of this disease is desirable, screening for ovarian cancer has not been shown to be effective in the general population. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that healthy lifestyle modifications may assist in reducing one’s risk of developing this disease.

Here are a few tips to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer and stay healthy:
1. Maintain an optimum weight

Are you overweight or obese? There is contradictory evidence linking excess body weight and ovarian cancer. While the jury on this subject is still out, it makes sense to shed those excess kilos considering the proven benefits of such a lifestyle vis-à-vis cardiac and metabolic health, longevity, etc.

genital TB
Ovarian cancer is quite common among women. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Do any physical activity of your choice

Do you hate going to the gym, or are unable to keep up due to hectic work life? It is essential for each and every individual to reserve some time in their hectic daily schedules for some sort of physical activity like swimming, yoga, aerobics, walking, or jogging, for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. This will ensure that you maintain healthy body weight, besides improving your overall well-being, boosting your immunity, energizing you and helping you fight depression and stress.

3. Watch what you eat

Is junk and processed food a part of your regular diet? You must give up on these unhealthy eating habits and stick to healthy eating. Make sure that you incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, carrots, pulses, legumes, whole grains, and seeds in your daily diet. Stay away from bakery products. Get your daily dose of vitamin D and stay in top shape. Also, bid adieu to tobacco in any form and alcohol. Adopt a healthy lifestyle as this is the key.

4. Breastfeed your baby

Did you know that pregnancy and breastfeeding can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer? Ovulation is suppressed during the months of pregnancy and lactation. This is believed to be the reason for the observed reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer in multiparous women who have regularly breastfed their infants.

A little effort goes a long way in reducing your risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Dr Rajendra A Kerkar Dr Rajendra A Kerkar

Dr Rajendra A Kerkar, Prof. & Head, Gynecological Oncology, ACI-Cumballa Hill Hospital, Mumbai