Although several theories exist, the exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown; many factors, however, seem to play a role in its development. A family history of ovarian cancer places the patient at risk, as does a diet high in saturated fats. It appears that ovarian cancer occurs in women who have more menstrual cycles (i.e., early menarche, late menopause, nulliparity, infer-tilty, and celibacy). Women who live in industrialized countries have a higher risk than do those in underdeveloped countries, where women have high parities. Exposure to asbestos and talc may place the patient at risk. Late menarche, early menopause, pregnancy, and oral contraception may offer a protective benefit by effecting ovulation suppression.
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