One of the most common conditions in women is endometriosis. It occurs in 1 out of 10 women. The symptoms are usually persistent pain with menstruation, bloody cysts of the ovary and fertility issues. It is usually considered to be a benign condition. However, for years there has been suspicion to its association with certain ovarian cancers.
Several recent studies have now shown that endometriosis can transform to ovarian cancer in some patients. It is not clear which patients are susceptible to this harmful transformation into ovarian cancer and what the causes are, but multiple factors such as genetic history and a patient’s environment may play a role.
Early detection and the complete surgical excision of the endometriosis along with hormonal suppression will likely result in a better treatment outcome and will help reduce the chance of ovarian cancer. Also, the removal of the Fallopian tubes in women that undergo a hysterectomy or desire permanent sterilization has shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
A pelvic ultrasound is one method of evaluating the Fallopian tubes and ovaries that can be done in the office. Another is MRI of the pelvis that increases the chance of early identification of a malignancy.