Endometriosis (about its relationship with ovarian cancer)
Nowadays, women experience their first menarche at the age of 11-12 and often give birth to their first child in their 30s, with average number of children of 1-2. They experience menopause around the age of 51 years and end their lives at around 86 years old. Women today experience about 450 menstruations during their lifetime, but only about 50 menstruations 100 years ago. It means that women today experience nine times more menstruations. The female hormone estrogen is released during each menstruation. Estrogen is an important hormone for the mammary glands, uterus, and ovaries to keep women youthful, but it also causes diseases specific to women when it acts excessively. Diseases specific to women include endometriosis, uterine myoma, breast cancer, and uterine body cancer.
Endometriosis, which you may have heard of, is a common disease that affects one in ten women. Menstrual pains are known to become severer just prior to having endometriosis. It means that leaving menstrual pain untreated often results in unfavorable events in life leading to endometriosis as shown in this illustration. Suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is also common. It can often lead to premature birth or cesarean section in pregnant women. Furthermore, some patients with endometriosis develop ovarian cancer.
A survey of the patients who received surgeries on chocolate cysts due to endometriosis revealed that 3.4% of them were complicated with ovarian cancer. The rate of cancer complication increases with age, and is reported to be 4% in the 40s. Patients with the cysts of 10 cm or more are more likely to have cancer complication; therefore, thorough examination such as MRI as well as surgical treatments are considered for the patients at the age of 40 or older with the cysts of 10 cm or more or chocolate cyst.
Thus, it is important not to have endometriosis to prevent ovarian cancer. Once having it, its early detection for starting its treatments earlier is important. Endometriosis often causes some kind of pains, such as menstrual pain, low back pain, chronic pelvic pain, dyspareunia, defecation pain, and urination pain. It can also cause infertility and increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
The sign of endometriosis is menstrual pain. Women in whom pains are so strong leading to bed confinement, medicines do not work well, pains are stronger than before should not hesitate to visit gynecologist without bearing with them.