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Ovarian Cancer: Genetic?

We lost our daughter-in-law in September, 2011. She was diagnosed May, 2009 with Stage IV epithelial cancer. It had spread to all of her female organs, oomentum, diaphragm, lungs, et al. She had three major surgeries at Mayo Clinic and 60+ chemos in her home town. She was never NED. She left behind a husband and two children, a girl 10, and a boy, 8. Her sister talked to her insurance company, and they were more than happy to perform a hysterectomy on the sister. They thought the sister should be proactive in acting so that she would not get OVCA.

My question is this. What are the odds of my granddaughter contracting OVCA? Please don't give me gobbledegook, i.e. 'no one knows when someone will get OVCA,' etc. I want to know the truth. If they did a hysterectomy on her sister, one would assume that OVCA can be genetic. What steps could/should my granddaughter (or her father) take to be on the lookout for any signs of OVCA? At what age? The gd is going through early pubescence now, developing breasts, but her periods haven't yet started. She is 5'4", weighs 110 & wears a size 9 shoe. She's the tallest girl in all of fourth grade.

3 Responses
242604 tn?1328121225
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi There
nyc lady is absolutely right

I am so sorry for your loss.  It sounds like it was a rough, rough time

So statistics:

the average lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 60 to 70.
This is one tenth the life time risk of breast cancer

most ovarian cancer is "sporadic" which means there is no family history and particular risk factors that we can tease out to identify a woman.

about 10% of all women who develop ovarian cancer have a family history
by definition familial ovarian cancer is having two or more first degree family members with ovarian cancer
or having the genetic testing that nyc describes

for those with this syndrome, they have up to an 40% risk of developing ovarian cancer

here is a good site for more info
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA

for your granddaughter , if she has only one family member (her mother) with ovarian cancer and does not have a genetic mutation, her risk maybe of the general population  (1.4%)

it is not an exact predictive science

the standard recommendation is:
put her on the birth control pill which reduces ovarian cancer risk by 50% until she wants a family

perhaps, surveillance ultrasounds once she is n her 30's
if she has the BRCA gene then removal of the ovaries after her family is complete
take care
155056 tn?1333638688
I know that the doctor will respond when she is on line.  The increase risk of getting ovarian cancer is mininal when a first line relative has the disease, and although minimal the advanced risk does exist.  

Do you know if your daughter in law was ever tested for the BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutation?   This can show if the disease is genetic or random.

Your grandchildren are still very young....now it is more important be certain that their mother is not forgotten.

As your granddaughter gets older, hopefully, there will be advances with this disease.  She needs to be diligent with check ups, maybe somehow insist on transvaginals, etc.  As of now there is no  test for ovarian cancer, but, maybe if there is something on anyone's ovaries it can be caught early.   We need a mammogram for our ovaries.

Sorry to hear of your loss to this devasting disease.
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your comments. My DIL was tested and did not show positive for BRCA 1 or 2. She was 40 @ Dx, not of Eastern European ancestry, had been on birth control pills, and had two children. So, it was as if she were 'randomly' selected....

As to putting the granddaughter on birth control pills, at what age/stage should this happen? As I said, she hasn't get begun her periods and is 10 years old.

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