Endometriosis is Not a Cancer, Or Can it Be?

Generally speaking we have been telling women that endometriosis is no a cancer, will not turn into cancer, and that pain of endometriosis is part of their disease and not a sign of cancer. A new report has gotten a lot of media attention that states endometriosis raises a woman's risk of certain types of cancer. The reports in the Lancet Oncology inf Feb 2012 showed that endometriosis is associated with clear cell, endometrioid and low-grade serous ovarian cancers. This conclusion was drawn from analysis of many studies. There is a theory that a certain gene defect in the ARIDIA gene might be the reason that some women might suffer from both endometriosis and ovarian cancer. It is too soon to do special gene screening of this nature, but it's another example of how gene screening may help us know as your gyno how to direct your care in the future. So women with endometriosis should take the following steps: 1. Continue to get routine gynecologic care, do not skip yearly check ups, 2. Report unusual symptoms such as abdominal pains, change in abdominal pains or bloating, 3. Speak to your gyno about general and specific things you can do to reduce risk of ovarian cancer and what you may be able to do that would help prevent ovarian cancer in the future. 5. Consider blood marker testing such as CA125 if you have gotten ultrasound screening, and OVA1 testing or HE4 testing if you have a cyst or growth on your ovary. 6. Get ultrasound testing if you are found to have an abnormality on pelvic exam, persistent pain, or any of the abdominal symptoms noted above. 


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