Endometriosis linked to ovarian cancer

Endometriosis is a disorder in which endometrium-like tissue grows outside the uterus and induces chronic inflammation in these areas. Approximately 10% of women of reproductive age are affected by it.

In South Africa, one in every 166 women are expected to develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime.

The study

Researchers from the University of Southern California in the United States analysed data from 13 studies including more than 23,000 women, and found that those with a history of endometriosis had more than a three-fold increase risk of clear-cell ovarian cancer, more than a two-fold increased risk of endometrioid tumours, and a two-fold increased risk of low-grade serous ovarian cancers.

‘€œThis breakthrough could lead to better identification of women at increased risk of ovarian cancer and could provide a basis for increased cancer surveillance of the relevant population, allowing better individualisation of prevention and early-detection approaches such as risk-reduction surgery and screening,’€ said the lead author, Celeste Leigh Pearce, in a journal news release.

Despite the association between the two conditions, the risk of a woman with endometriosis developing ovarian cancer is small, and the study did not show a cause-and-effect link.

“However, health care providers should be alert to the increased risk of specific subtypes of ovarian cancer in women with a history of endometriosis,” said Pearce.

Source: HealthDay News, National Health Laboratory Services


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