The ovaries are a pair
of organs in the female reproductive
system. They are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the
uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped
organ where a fetus grows). Each
ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries produce eggs and
female hormones (chemicals that
control the way certain cells or
Ovarian cancer is also the leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system. Since 1992, the number of new cases of ovarian cancer has gone down slightly. The number of deaths from ovarian cancer has slightly decreased since 2002.
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors for ovarian cancer include the following:
Certain factors may decrease a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer. Women who have taken oral contraceptives ("the pill"), given birth, breast-fed, or had a tubal ligation or hysterectomy have a lower than average risk of developing ovarian cancer. Prophylactic oophorectomy (removal of healthy ovaries) decreases ovarian cancer risk in women who have an altered gene related to breast cancer.