Ashkenazi Jewish Women & Ovarian Cancer Risk

1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish women have a BRCA gene mutation that increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Here is what you need to know about the signs and symptoms, and what you can do to own your health!

Signs & Symptoms


  • Abdominal swelling and/or pain
  • Bloating and/or a feeling of fullness
  • Persistent, gastrointestinal complaints such as gas, nausea and indigestion
  • Frequency and/or urgency of urination
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Unusual Fatigue, backaches
  • Abnormal or postmenopausal bleeding

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Risk Factors


  • Age: Most Common in Women Over 50
  • Family History of Ovarian Cancer
  • Inherited Mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 Genes
  • Northern European and/or Ashkenazi Jewish Heritage
  • No Pregnancies

Risk Factors
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How can I get screened?


FIRST: talk with your physician about the benefits of genetic testing.

Here are other options your physician may suggest based on your risk:


  • Pelvic exam twice a year beginning at age 35.
  • Testing for a CA-125 levels in the blood two times a year.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound, an imaging technique used to create a picture of the genital tract in women by using a hand-held device inserted directly into the vagina.
  • Birth control pills may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Preventive Surgeries

  • Removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy) significantly reduces the risk of ovarian cancer.


When ovarian cancer is caught in Stage I, 93% of patients survive 5 years or longer. That’s why Judy’s Mission is working to find a better way to detect ovarian cancer before Stage IV (B4S4).


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