While sometimes painful and annoying, most cysts on the ovaries are harmless and will often resolve on their own without medical intervention of any kind. Most of these cysts are a type of cyst called a functional cyst. Cysts that develop into cancerous ovarian cysts are something entirely different.
Quite naturally, the thought of cancerous ovarian cysts comes to a woman’s mind when she discovers that she has cysts on her ovaries. The good news is that chances are your cysts are harmless and the likelihood of having cancerous ovarian cysts is actually quite low. And even though you may be prone to developing ovarian cysts, it doesn’t mean you are more likely to develop cancer than any other woman.
That being said, a trip to your doctor is always the first step when you suspect that you may have cysts on your ovaries. If the cyst or growth is large enough, your doctor will be able to manually detect it with a simple pelvic exam. An ultrasound image can usually tell a doctor whether the growth is a harmless ovarian cyst or a cancerous growth. In addition to the ultrasound, there are a series of tests your physician can conduct to confirm what type of cysts you’re experiencing and whether you should be concerned. Those tests include:
- CA-125 Blood Test
The unfortunate thing about cancerous ovarian cysts is that they rarely cause any symptoms until they are very large. Symptoms described by patients then usually include abdominal pain due to pressure the growing cyst is exerting on nearby organs. Other symptoms may include nausea or vomiting, constipation, endometrial bleeding, weight loss, and an overall decline in health. Keep in mind, however, these symptoms can result from many, many other conditions as well and doesn’t necessarily mean you have a cancerous cyst. Although not exclusively, cancerous ovarian cysts are more commonly found in postmenopausal women.
While cancerous ovarian cysts are obviously the most frightening, there are other forms of cysts that can also be problematic. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience a sharp pain in your lower abdomen. This could possibly be a sign of a cyst that is about to rupture or has already ruptured. Along with the pain, you may experience a feeling of heaviness in your pelvic area, frequency of urination, as well as diarrhea or nausea. Again, these symptoms could be many other things, but check with your doctor to be on the safe side.