STEP 1: Prevention and early detection


Some factors that may reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer are:

  • using an oral contraceptive pill
  • giving birth and breastfeeding
  • surgical procedures such as tubal ligation, salpingectomy, hysterectomy and risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy.

Risk factors

A small proportion of women develop ovarian cancer as a result of inherited risk. These women may be identified by individual, family history or tumour pathology characteristics. For women at potentially high risk of ovarian cancer, GP referral to a familial cancer service is recommended for risk assessment, possible genetic testing and management planning (which may include risk-reducing surgery).

For women who are considering risk-reducing surgery, the surgeon should provide clear information about the objective of the procedure, discuss management of menopausal symptoms and other long-term side effects, and discuss the factors influencing psychosocial wellbeing after surgery.

Refer to the optimal care pathway for women with ovarian cancer for other risk factors.

Screening recommendations Population-based screening is not appropriate for ovarian cancer.