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Can Endometriosis Cause Cancer?

can-endometriosis-cause-cancer.jpgWhile many people understand why and how endometriosis causes infertility, fewer know whether endometriosis can cause cancer. This is one of the key questions addressed by a group of experts from The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). The ESHRE Guideline Development Group recently published guidelines for management of endometriosis in patients, and this is what they conclude:

  • There is no evidence that endometriosis causes cancer.
  • There is no increase in overall incidence of cancer in women with endometriosis.
  • Some cancers (ovarian cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) are slightly more common in women with endometriosis.
  • The Guideline Development Group recommends that clinicians explain the incidence of some cancers in women with endometriosis in absolute numbers.
  • The Guideline Development Group recommends no change in the current overall management of endometriosis in relation to malignancies, since there are no clinical data on how to lower the slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in women with endometriosis.

The issue of cancer is often raised when there is involvement of the ovaries with cyst formation (endometrioma). Transvaginal ultrasound can help differentiate between an endometrioma and ovarian cancer. If, however, there is suspicion of cancer (increased vascularity, thick multiple septae, papillary excrescences) then surgery with biopsy will resolve the issue.

To see a fertility specialist who has been treating patients with endometriosis-associated infertility for many years, make an appointment at one of InVia’s four Chicago area fertility clinics.

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Dr. Vishvanath Karande

Dr. Vishvanath Karande

Dr. Karande is Board Certified in the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the subspecialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.



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