Family history


Some women are at increased risk of ovarian cancer because they have a strong family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer. 

A strong family history means having several close blood relatives (on the mother’s or father’s side of the family) who have had breast or ovarian cancer, especially if this was diagnosed at an early age. 

Two genes associated with ovarian cancer are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Inheriting a faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increases your risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer. However, inheriting a faulty gene does not guarantee you will get cancer. There are other factors that affect your chance of getting cancer. 

For more information about genetics, inheritance and risk of cancer, see this fact sheet on Breast and ovarian cancer and inherited predisposition.