Understanding Ovarian Cancer: Risk Factors & Prevention


It seems like we all know someone that has had ovarian cancer sneak up on them. It's a silent disease that's often caught too late. Ovarian cancer ranks 5th in cancer deaths among women so why might it happen in the first place? Potential causes of ovarian cancer: Gonadotropins are peptide hormones that regulate ovarian and testicular function and are essential for normal growth, sexual development, and reproduction. Gonadotropins are also fertility medications given by injection that contain follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) alone or combined with luteinizing hormone (LH). P. M. Wise, a hormone researcher showed that too much estrogen accelerates aging of the central nervous system, destroying the nerves which regulate the pituitary gonadotropins, and causing ovarian failure and infertility. Estrogens are implicated as causative factors of ovarian carcinogenesis. Ovarian tissue estrogen levels are at least 100-fold higher than circulating levels and those in the follicular fluid of ovulatory follicles are even higher. Early puberty in girls has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, obesity, and even diabetes in adult life. "Some of these conditions are related to prolonged and early exposure to estrogen from the active ovarian cycle." Ray Peat, a hormone researcher, goes on to say "estrogen itself can impair the ovary’s ability to produce progestogen, but the continuous high secretion of gonadotropins disturbs the ovary, the adrenals, and (according to recent observations), even the uterus." Ovarian cancer is one reason to be careful with synthetic estrogen replacement therapy and xenoestrogens in the environment. In addition, normal factors in the physiological control of the ovaries include an interaction between the thyroid and the gonadotrophins; the combination of hypothyroidism and stimulation by gonadotropins can cause ovarian cysts to develop. Progesterone is a possible protective factor against ovarian cancer. Epidemiological data provide additional support that P4 or response of Ovarian Surface Epithelium (OSE) cells to the steroid affords a protective role against ovarian cancer development or progression. An increase in ovarian cancer incidence was observed among women with progesterone deficiency. Progesterone (P4) or cellular responses to P4 appears to offer protection against ovarian carcinogenesis. The protective effect of pregnancy may be attributable to exposure of the OSE to high levels of P4 during pregnancy. About 20% of women with ovarian cancer are less than 50 years of age. To learn more about ovarian cancer, you can watch my video on that topic. For a full workup and look at your hormone levels, call 949-680-1880 to book an appointment.

Your Partner in Health, Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy