Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

You might think it’s strange for a dermatology blog to be on the subject of ovarian cancer, but there’s a connection. 

Your gynecologist checks for any sign of ovarian or other reproductive-related cancer, and that’s as it should be. But dermatologists who examine your skin are alert to rare but serious skin disorders, one of which could be a sign of ovarian cancer. 

Our board-certified dermatologists at Seacoast Dermatology are trained to identify skin disorders that could signal other health conditions. That’s one reason why it’s so important to schedule annual dermatology screenings. 

What is dermatomyositis?

Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disorder of your tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissue. Scientists aren’t sure what causes dermatomyositis, but think it may be an immune disorder. The condition is characterized by a skin rash and muscle weakness. 

So you’re probably wondering how dermatomyositis is associated with ovarian cancer. Actually, it’s associated with malignancy. And younger women who have dermatomyositis have a high risk for ovarian cancer. 

The disorder affects twice as many women as men and more often appears in adults in their late 40s to the early 60s. 

Dermatomyositis skin rash

A skin rash is often an early sign of this disorder. The rash can be either rough and scaly or smooth, and it can appear on many places on your body:

The rash may go away, but it may leave behind evidence in the form of scars or discolored patches of skin. 

Dermatomyositis muscle weakness

You may also have muscle weakness in many places including your neck, arms, shoulders, hips, and thighs. Both sides of your body are usually affected, and it does not resolve without treatment. 

Other risk factors for ovarian cancer

There are other more common risk factors for ovarian cancer.


Ovarian cancer most often occurs in women who are over the age of 55. Half of the cases are found in women over 63 years old, and some of these cases are connected to dermatomyositis. 

Hereditary factors

If cancer is present in your family, you may have family cancer syndrome. About 25% of ovarian cancer cases are from family genetic makeup. Genetic testing can help determine your risk. 

Later or interrupted pregnancy 

If you’re over 35 when you have a child or if you didn’t carry a child to term, you’re at increased risk of ovarian cancer. 

Call us today or book an appointment using our online tool for your annual dermatology examination. We’re your partner in keeping your skin healthy. We have offices in Exeter, Dover, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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