Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancers: Do Subtypes Require Separate Treatment in Epidemiological Studies?


Epidemiological studies of cancer of the ovaries , among the leading sites for cancer incidence and mortality inwomen in very many countries of the world, have pointed to high saturated fat and carbohydrate intake,postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and use of cosmetic talc as risk factors. Conversely, vegetableconsumption, parity, lactation and generally appear to confer protection. Genetic influence also clearly plays a role,women with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes having an elevated risk, for example. Overall there appear tobe shared risk factors for breast cancer. However, there are many types of epithelial ovarian cancer and crosscountrycomparisons of incidence data from various cancer registries in Europe and North America published in theIARC Cancer Incidence in Five Continents Vol VII suggest that only the serous type is linked to mammary tumourdevelopment. Thus future studies should concentrate more attention on the individual subtypes of ovarian cancer inorder to better establish preventive measures.