Asked in Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cancer

Is it possible for your child to get ovarian cancer if you have it?



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Ovarian cancer is NOT contagious to the fetus directly. Meaning if you have ovarian cancer during pregnancy (which is extremely rare), these cancerous cells have no way of coming in contact with the developing fetus. All the cells from which your daughter will be derived will be from the single celled zygote formed from the union of egg and sperm. Ovarian cancers in children are extremely rare and are quite distinct from adult ovarian caners. The direct causes of ovarian cancer still remain unknown however. It is believed it has to do with the continual tissue-repair process that follows the monthly release of an egg through a tiny tear in an ovarian follicle (ovulation) throughout a woman's reproductive years. The formation and division of new cells at the rupture site may set up a situation in which genetic errors occur. Others propose that the increased hormone levels before and during ovulation may stimulate the growth of abnormal cells. The most significant risk factor for ovarian cancer is having an inherited mutation in one of two genes called breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2). These genes were originally identified in families with multiple cases of breast cancer but they're also responsible for about 5 percent to 10 percent of ovarian cancers. Another known genetic link involves an inherited syndrome called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). Individuals in HNPCC families are at increased risk of cancers of the uterine lining (endometrium), colon, ovary, stomach and small intestine. Sometimes, ovarian cancer occurs in more than one family member but isn't the result of any known inherited gene alteration. Having a family history of ovarian cancer increases your risk of the disease, but not to the same degree as does having an inherited genetic defect. If you have one first-degree relative