Uterine cancer-ovarian cancer linked: Study
As many as one quarter of young women with uterine cancer also have ovarian cancer, new research suggests.
Several groups advocate ovary-sparing treatment to safeguard fertility in young women with uterine cancer, the authors explain, but reports have suggested that these women have ovarian cancer rates ranging from 5 to 29 per cent, according to a report in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Dr. Ilana Cass from UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and colleagues investigated the frequency of coexisting ovarian cancer in 102 women, age 45 years or younger, who underwent hysterectomy for uterine cancer.
Twenty-six of the women, or 25 per cent, had coexisting ovarian cancer, the authors report. Aside from three cases in which the ovarian cancer had spread from uterine cancer, all of the ovarian cancers were new, separate cancers.
Most of the cases occurred in women with early uterine cancer. Moreover, in a few cases, standard X-ray methods failed to detect the ovarian cancer.
"Based on our data, we would recommend a cautious approach to (ovary-sparing treatment) in young patients with uterine cancer," the authors conclude. "The high incidence of coexisting (cancer) in the ovaries and the young age of diagnosis suggest an increased susceptibility of the reproductive organs to" becoming cancerous.
"If the ovaries are preserved at the time of hysterectomy," the researchers advise, "patients may need continued postoperative surveillance" of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. At the minimum, careful assessment of the fallopian tubes and ovaries is warranted in all young patients with uterine cancer.