A recent case-control study determined that ovarian masses discovered during ultrasound exams are significantly associated with the risk of ovarian cancer. Furthermore, there was a clear difference between simple and complex cysts, when it came to the possibility of developing the disease.
The project analyzed data from over 72,000 women during a period of 10 years. Among them, a total of 210 cases of ovarian cancer were discovered. In the full cohort, 75.5% of participants were younger than 50 years, while 76.7% of those with ovarian cancer were 50 years and older. The average time to diagnose was 3.4 months following the first ultrasonography.
Simple cysts were the most common ovarian finding, occurring with 23.8% of women below 50 years and for 13.4% of those above. Of 15,306 women with a simple cyst, only one woman was subsequently diagnosed with ovarian cancer within 3 years, translating into a likelihood ratio of 0.06.
Complex cystic masses were common for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. They were found in 31 of 49 cases where participants were younger than 50 years old, revealing an 8.2 likelihood. For women above 50, which were 90 of 161, the likelihood was 7.6.
Solid masses occurred in 10.2% of those with ovarian cancer younger than 50 years, and in 7.5% of those 50 years and older. Again, the finding of a solid mass was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer, with a likelihood ratio of 8.08.
“With a confident diagnosis of simple cysts, clinicians can be reassured that the likelihood of cancer is similar to that of patients without cysts, and management can be based on patient symptoms rather than on a benign incidental pelvic ultrasonographic finding”, noted Deborah Levine, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
The study again highlights the importance of regular screenings. Early detection can significantly improve patient outcome and by knowing these signs doctors can offer better medical solutions.