While every girl should know the symptoms of ovarian cancer, it will be reassuring for some to know that their risk of the disease is reduced if they take the contraceptive pill - and/or if they have carried a pregnancy to full-term.
A Cancer Research UK funded study found taking the pill for 10 years cuts risk by 45%, while women who took the Pill for any length of time had an approximately 15% lower risk of ovarian cancer than those who never took it at all - and the risk reduced further in women taking it for longer.
Pregnancy also plays a part in ovarian cancer risk. Women who had ever been through a full-term pregnancy had a 29% lower ovarian cancer risk compared with women who had never been pregnant. As with the above results, more pregnancies decreased the risk, by around 8% per child.
The results are published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Naomi Allen, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist, based at the University of Oxford who works on the EPIC study, said: “Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect and so prevention is key to saving women suffering from this disease.”
All women should be aware of the signs of ovarian cancer like pain in the lower tummy, bloating, increased tummy size, difficulty eating or feeling full. If these symptoms are new and happen on most days then it is important to check them out with your GP.