Can Endometriosis Cause Cancer?

Endometriosis itself is not a direct cause of cancer, but there are some connections and factors that should be considered:

  • Increased Cancer Risk: Research suggests that women with endometriosis may have a slightly increased risk of certain types of ovarian cancers, particularly endometrioid and clear cell ovarian carcinomas. However, the absolute risk is still relatively low. Most women with endometriosis do not develop cancer.
  • Chronic Inflammation: Endometriosis involves the presence of tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrial tissue) growing outside the uterus. This can cause chronic inflammation and irritation in the affected areas. Prolonged inflammation can theoretically increase the risk of cancer development, as chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer in some cases.
  • Hormonal Factors: Both endometriosis and certain types of cancer (such as ovarian and breast cancer) are influenced by hormones, particularly estrogen. Women with endometriosis may have higher lifetime exposure to estrogen due to hormonal fluctuations associated with their condition. Elevated estrogen levels are associated with an increased risk of certain hormone-sensitive cancers.

It’s important to note that the majority of women with endometriosis will not develop cancer. Regular medical check-ups and screenings are essential for managing your health and detecting any potential issues early. If you have concerns about endometriosis or your cancer risk, it’s recommended to discuss them with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized guidance based on your medical history and risk factors.