Endometriosis and Clear Cell Carcinoma – Ovarian Cancer

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Endometriosis is a common disease amongst women and is thought to occur in between 7 and 10% of the female population. Whilst it is known that the vast majority of these women will never go on to develop any form of cancer, the work that has been done recently in demonstrating a link between endometriosis and particular types of ovarian cancer could provide an easier way to provide the necessary screening for a disease which is notoriously difficult to diagnose.

A team of researchers from Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) have recently revisited a set of thirteen independent pieces of research into the link between endometriosis and ovarian and cancer and have now confirmed that women with self-reported history of endometriosis have significantly increased risk of developing clear cell carcinoma. Clear cell carcinoma is a cancer in which malignant cells form in the tissue covering the ovary. About 6% of common epithelial tumours are known to be clear cell and of those, 50% are known to be associated with endometriosis. The majority of patients with this type of cancer are between 40 and 80 years of age.

The researchers also showed that there was a clear link between endometriosis and what is called low-grade serous ovarian carcinomas, which are slow growing cancers. They discovered that endometriosis doubled the risk for women developing the disease; however, they also learned that there was no association between endometriosis and high-grade serous carcinomas, which develop much faster and are more aggressive, or other subtypes of ovarian cancer in the study.

In the UK, women have a 2% chance of developing ovarian cancer during their lifetime, this translates roughly into one woman in every 50 developing the disease. Of these figures, around 9 out of every 10 cases will be of the Epithelial Ovarian Cancer type and only 6% of these cases will be of the Clear Cell Carcinoma type (roughly half of one woman in every 50).

About the author: Linda started The Hysterectomy Association  in 1996 after having a hysterectomy herself at the age of 32 to deal with the severe endometriosis she had suffered from since she was 16.

The organization came to be when she decided to use the subject of the information needs of women having a hysterectomy as the basis of a thesis for her MSc in Information Studies at Loughborough University. When the research was completed, she was asked by the ladies who had taken part in the research to start an organization just for them; a place that would provide them with a place to go for information and support.

Click on this link to download a copy of the short report detailing the findings from the research.

Linda has written four books, three of them about hysterectomy and the fourth about using the Internet for business. You can find out more about Linda and her other roles by viewing her LinkedIn profile – if you are in business yourself, you may well want to join her too – just let her know that you’re from The Hysterectomy Association.  You can also find her on Facebook at: facebook.com/LindaParkinsonHardman

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  1. It’s too bad that the Hysterectomy Association makes hysterectomy sound like it rarely has long-term after effects. It states that most women do not need to know about the risks and find it a liberating experience. Every women considering hysterectomy should know about all the risks, both surgical and the long-term after effects. Studies show that hysterectomy even without ovary removal is a destructive surgery and even more destructive when one or both ovaries are removed. Removal of any part of the “reproductive” system has been shown by studies to be harmful. The many online hysterectomy forums make it clear that women’s lives are shattered by hysterectomy in the short and long-term. So many women were not informed of the after effects.

  2. I wonder if chemotherapy treatments are more effective on low-grade serous ovarian carcinomas than other ovarian cancers, since they grow slower. Good news that this type of cancer is less aggressive, especially since there are so many women that have endometriosis.

    1. You are quite right Elena that this is a much slower growing and less aggressive cancer and as such I believe it is easier to treat effectively earlier.

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