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Surgery for Endometriosis Reduces Ovarian Cancer Risk

April 18, 2013

A recent study determined that women who have surgery for endometriosis lower their risk for ovarian cancer. Endometriosis results when the tissue that is normally inside the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows outside of the uterine cavity; it is often a painful, chronic disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 5.5 million women in North America have endometriosis, which can lead to infertility in 40 percent of cases.

The study results were published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The study authors identified women diagnosed with endometriosis between 1969 and 2007 and linked women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer at least one year following an endometriosis diagnosis. Lead author, Dr. Anna-Sofia Melin from the Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden says, "Patients with endometriosis are typically treated with hormones, or in more severe cases, with surgery. We wanted to expand understanding of ovarian cancer risk in women with endometriosis who had some type of surgery or hormone therapy."

The study demonstrated that the surgical removal of one ovary and surgical removal of all visible endometriosis does protect women from developing ovarian cancer in the future. "For women with endometriosis, the role of hormonal treatment and future ovarian cancer risk remains unclear and further investigation is warranted," Melin says.


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