Ovarian cancerIntroduction

  • Lower rates of ovarian cancer are seen in areas that have more sunlight.
  • Lower levels of vitamin D are associated with higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is one of the approximately 20 vitamin D-sensitive types of cancer. 

The evidence comes largely from ecological (geographical) studies of ovarian cancer mortality rates. 

Based on analogy with the geographical variation of breast cancer mortality rates, it seems that keeping serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) might reduce risk by 25-35% and increase survival after diagnosis.

Calcium intake also seems to reduce risk 1 2

Use of oral contraceptives reduces risk, likely through mechanisms including reduction in inflammation 3.  

Page last edited: 18 July 2011


  1. Goodman MT, Wu AH, Tung KH, McDuffie K, Kolonel LN, Nomura AM, et al. Association of dairy products, lactose, and calcium with the risk of ovarian cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 2002; 156 (2): 148-57.
  2. Peterlik, M. Grant, W.B. Cross, H.S. Calcium, vitamin D and cancer. Anticancer Res. 2009 Sept 29; 29 (9): 3687-98.
  3. Maia HJ, Casoy J Non-contraceptive health benefits of oral contraceptives. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. March 2008; 13 (1): 17-24.