Genetic predisposition, or hereditary factors passed down through family genes, do play a role in ovarian cancer. The highest risk is observed in women that carry a BRCA1 mutation; for these women, the estimated risk of developing ovarian cancer is higher than 45%. BRCA2 mutations carry a lower risk, estimated at 25%, while women with Lynch Syndrome have a 10% risk.
Women at increased risk due to genetic mutations must make significant decisions about prevention from ovarian cancer. It is currently recommended that the ovaries be removed at age 35 or once childbearing is complete. Although this does not completely eliminate the risk of cancer, it decreases it to less than 3%.
Benefits and risks of genetic testing and prophylactic surgery should be discussed with your doctor. The genetic test is performed by a simple blood test and can accurately determine if a BRCA mutations or Lynch Syndrome is present.