PCOS and Cancer
PCOS and Cancer: What’s the Risk?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition which causes women to experience a number of symptoms, such as weight gain, acne, facial hair, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility. Like many other conditions, those with PCOS may be wondering whether or not they are at a greater risk of cancer. Here are some of the things that you should know about your chances of developing certain types of cancer if you have PCOS.
PCOS and Ovarian Cancer
Since Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects the ovaries and can prevent them from releasing an egg every month, many women with this condition worry about their risk of developing ovarian cancer. It is important to keep in mind that when you have PCOS, your likelihood of experiencing cysts is much higher than the general population. While it is common for ovarian cysts to be benign, there is a chance that they may be cancerous. This is why it is so important for women with PCOS to have routine checkups with their OBGYN. However, the overall risk of developing ovarian cancer as a result of PCOS is not much higher than other women.
PCOS and Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer
Women who have PCOS are at a higher risk of experiencing endometrial cancer than other women. The reason is because not having a baby increases your chances of developing cancer of the endometrial lining. If PCOS causes you to experience infertility, your chances of developing endometrial cancer are two to three times higher than other women. Due to estrogen levels, you may also be at a higher risk of endometrial cancer due to PCOS. Being fifteen to twenty pounds overweight also increases the risk of this type of cancer.
PCOS and Breast Cancer
Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The reason is because the risk of breast cancer increases with estrogen levels, which tend to be higher among women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Women with PCOS are also more likely to be overweight or obese, which raises the risk of breast cancer. Having regular mammograms and doing self breast exams are two preventative steps that women with PCOS can take to help ensure early detection of breast cancer.
If you are a woman with PCOS, the best thing that you can do is let your doctor know that you are aware of your increased risk of endometrial and breast cancer. While PCOS does not actually increase your chance of ovarian cancer, it can increase your chances of experiencing an ovarian cyst that is malignant. It is also important to be aware of the other risks which you are at a greater risk for due to PCOS, such as high cholesterol and heart disease.
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