Dr. Magtibay, a gynecologic cancer specialist, explains that a genetic mutation is responsible for ovarian cancer. Dr. Paul Magtibay is a gynecologic oncologist and performs surgery at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
Well the cause of ovarian cancer really is somewhat unknown. For some reason, some genetic mutation has occurred in those cells causing the cancer to grow uncontrollably. Most ovarian cancers are sporadic, meaning we can’t identify a specific genetic link associated with why that patient developed ovarian cancer.
We know that age certainly is a risk factor for ovarian cancer. As the body ages there’s a greater risk that a mutation will occur in those cells leading into a cancer itself. So, most are just sporadic and truly bad luck.
A small subset of patients will have one of the hereditary ovarian cancer syndromes, meaning that they have genes in their body that predispose them to put them at risk for developing ovarian cancer, usually at an earlier onset in life than what the average sporadic ovarian cancer will develop.
And it’s very important to recognize these patients because we can potentially do prophylactic surgical procedures or manage them medically in order to prevent an ovarian cancer from developing in the future.