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Ovarian Cancer Linked to Endometriosis

Aired 2/22/12 on KPBS News.

Women who have endometriosis are significantly more at risk of getting certain types of ovarian cancer, according to large study published in Lancet Oncology.

— About 10 percent of reproductive-age women have endometriosis—a typically painful condition that occurs when cells from the uterus grow in other areas of the body.

The condition causes irregular bleeding and can make conception more difficult.

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) to calculate the associated risk.

They found women who have endometriosis are at a three times greater risk of developing three specific types of ovarian cancer (clear cell, endometrioid and low-grade serous).

Previous studies have suggested a link between endometriosis and ovarian cancer, but the association is much higher than previously thought.

Still, OCAC researchers caution women not to be alarmed.

In a cautionary warning they stated most women with endometriosis do not develop ovarian cancers, but healthcare providers and patients should be alert to the increased risk.

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