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New Study Shows Simple Ovarian Cysts Carry No Cancer Risk

Low risk indicated that these cysts no longer need regular surveillance

Lumps, bumps, and cysts have always carried the concern of cancer for patients. A recent nested case-control study spanning three years shows that these concerns may be unfounded for simple ovarian cysts. However, the study also noted that complex cysts carry a strong association for increased cancer risks.

No Increased Risk For Simple Cysts

Spanning over three years and 15,000 women, the University of California, San Francisco study only included one diagnosis of ovarian cancer for women with simple cysts. Overall, the rates were comparable to the risk of cancer for women with normal ovaries. In addition to clinical knowledge, the study provides evidence recommending that simple cysts do not need regular observation.

Continued Monitoring of Complex Cysts

On the other hand, the study noted a marked risk increase when the cysts were complex, came with ascites or were solid masses. The increased risk varied from 8 to 74 times the cancer rate of women with normal ovaries. It is these types of cysts which require regular observation for early disease detection.

Improved Technology Increases Detection

As the evolution of ultrasound technology has progressed, the image quality of these images has skyrocketed. The effects of this have been two-fold. First, more benign and simple ovarian cysts have been found in women who were showing no symptoms, just discovered as byproducts of other ultrasounds. Secondly, the higher resolution has made the job of diagnosing the differences between simple and complex cysts easier.

The study provides excellent news for many women with simple cysts. Previously, invasive and uncomfortable tissue sampling was needed to help rule out further disease. Following these guidelines, with a confident diagnosis, patients and practitioners alike can now monitor simple cysts just based on patient symptoms rather than regular observation.

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