Q. Is family history a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Anindya Das
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 28, 2016 and last reviewed on: Mar 21, 2020

Hi doctor,

Two days before I got my periods and I started having sudden, sharp stabbing pain in my right ovary. These pains would slowly subside, although I could always feel a small sensation in the same spot, until it flare up again. It seemed to be agitated by the movement. I stay perfectly still most of the time and so there is no stabbing feeling. I asked my mother, who is a nurse, to check it out. She validated that the pain was ovarian and cleared me of having appendicitis. Over two days the pain has continued at random times, but not worsened. Now I am on my period. The blood is thick, sticky and totally brown to pretty bright red with heavy bleeding. I am normally a heavy bleeder during the first few days, but the color and consistency are unusual. I am also having my usual period symptoms such as achiness and bloating. Hence, it is hard to pinpoint whether it is just my period or the ovarian pain. I have had normal period before this one and no sexual exposure during or in between, so I know I am not pregnant. I am also at a very low risk for STDs. I am worried, as the women on my mother's side have a history of ovarian cancer and cysts. I know I am quite young for such a thing to happen in me. As I do not have any other symptoms related to other causes such as PID, I do not know what else it could be. I just started on birth control pills again last night. Otherwise, I am not any oral medication except topical treatment for itchy scalp, acne and eczema. Am I crazy in worrying? What could this be? Please help



Welcome to

I can understand your worry.

  • Yes, family history of ovarian cancer from maternal side is no doubt a great risk factor and no age is safe.
  • A type of ovarian cancer (germ cell variety) can happen in your age group.
  • Now, the pain you described could be for many reasons. You should see a doctor for evaluating your pain and do an immediate ultrasonography of whole abdomen to exclude any serious problem.

For further doubts consult an obstetrician and gynaecologist online -->

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