Are fibroids cancerous, and can fibroids turn into cancer? If you’ve recently been diagnosed with these uterine tumors, we know you have questions. But don’t worry, we have answers. So, today, we’ll delve deeper into the relationship between uterine fibroids and cancer risk.
What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are common, non-cancerous tumors found on or in the uterus.
They can vary in size from small to large, but small tumors may grow into large ones without treatment.
Wait, aren’t many tumors cancerous?
It’s true that some benign (non-cancerous) tumors may become cancerous. But that is not the case with uterine fibroids. In fact, almost all fibroids are benign (not cancerous). And the odds of developing a cancerous fibroid are extremely low (the rate is less than one in 1,000.) When cancerous fibroids form, we call them leiomyosarcoma. (The medical name for a benign fibroid is a leiomyoma, or myoma for short.)
So, can fibroids turn into cancer?
There’s a lot we don’t know about fibroids. For starters, we aren’t sure exactly why they form, although doctors have identified certain risk factors for uterine fibroids, including family history, race, vitamin deficiencies and exposure to certain hormone disrupting chemicals.
Given the amount of uncertainty in the world of these growths, we can’t definitively say that non-cancerous fibroids won’t turn into cancerous ones. However, doctors don’t think that already-existing fibroids become leiomyosarcomas. And they don’t think that having existing, benign fibroids increases your risk for developing cancerous fibroids.
Still, having fibroids can be very disruptive to your health. Causing symptoms such as long, heavy periods, uterine fibroids can increase your risk for conditions like anemia. Plus, they may increase your risk for developing other cancers, including breast cancer. As such, most women will choose to treat their uterine fibroids, even when their tumors aren’t cancerous.
Uterine Fibroid Treatment Options in Houston, TX
When exploring your treatment options, it’s important to understand that some may be riskier than others. Too many women believe that the only way to get rid of fibroids is to have a hysterectomy. (That’s the surgical removal of your uterus.) Yet this is a serious surgery that throws you into menopause and increases your risk for side effects that impact your mental and physical well-being.
For that reason, many women prefer a myomectomy, a surgical procedure that removes individual fibroids while preserving your uterus. While less invasive than a hysterectomyfibroids, this procedure still comes with an overnight hospital stay and extended recovery period. Plus, some surgeons still perform myomectomy using a power morcellator, a practice that can spread cancer cells from your uterus to the rest of your body.
Thankfully, our Houston area fibroid specialists offer a non-surgical treatment option called Uterine Fibroid Embolization. We invite you to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in the Woodlands, Houston, Sugar Land, Clear Lake or Katy. Together, we’ll explore whether you’re a good candidate for UFE. Because, while fibroids don’t typically turn into cancer, they usually grow larger, and cause more painful symptoms, when you delay or avoid treatment. So come in today to begin your journey to a fibroid resolution!