Scientists are continually studying the genes that cause ovarian cancer. There is little knowledge as to how these genes normally work and what part of them leads to cancer. Once this information is determined however, treatments and drugs for prevention will be able to be manufactured. The research in this area has not been completely futile. There are already better ways to detect high-risk genes and assess a woman’s ovarian cancer risk. Scientists are also working on understanding how genetic and hormonal factors (such as oral contraceptive use) interact with each to discover ways to prevent ovarian cancer as discussed in this article.
There is new information about how much BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations increase ovarian cancer risk. This information enables women to make decisions about prevention such as the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes. BRCA gene mutations make women more prone to fallopian tube cancers, so the detection of a mutation would allow a woman to make an educated decision on whether she should have the fallopian tubes removed or not. However, it is still impossible to accurately predict the outcome of a gene mutation for any individual woman.
Studies show fallopian tubes are often the site of origin for many primary peritoneal cancers and some ovarian cancers. Cells from early fallopian tube cancer can become detached and then stick to the surface of the peritoneum or the ovaries.
In these new locations the cells can grow more and more rapidly. The theory behind this idea has become important in determining the implications for preventing ovarian cancer. Having the ovaries removed early can cause issues in the female body, due to a lack of estrogen. These problems include bone loss, cardiovascular disease, and menopause syndrome. This is why scientists have started suggesting the removal of the fallopian tubes instead of the ovaries for females with a family history or BRCA gene mutations. This area continues to be researched as scientists constantly search for other factors that may affect the likelihood of ovarian cancer.