Am I at risk?

All women in the UK have a 1 in 52 chance of developing ovarian cancer but there are some things that can increase that risk.

Family history and genetics

If two or more relatives from the same side of your family have had ovarian cancer under the age of 50, or there has been more than one case of ovarian and breast cancer in your family, you may have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

This is because you might have inherited a BRCA1/2 gene mutation. BRCA1/2 gene mutations are associated with an up to 60% chance of developing ovarian cancer.

You can visit our BRCA hub for all the information, advice and support you need about BRCA1/2 gene mutations.

The hub also contains our BRCA Risk Tool to assess whether your family history puts you at risk of developing ovarian cancer.


Ovarian cancer risk is strongly related to age, with 84% of cases diagnosed over the age of 50 and more than half of cases diagnosed over the age of 65.  However, it important to remember that it is possible to get cancer at any age, so all women should be aware of the symptoms.

A long menstrual history

You may have a longer menstrual history if you started your period before the age of 12, experience the menopause after the age of 55, have your first child under the age of 30, never have children, or never breast feed.

Other risk factors

Other things that could increase your risk include being overweight or obese, smoking, a condition of the womb called endometriosis, and using oestrogen only hormone replacement therapy.