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Hyperthyroidism Increases Ovarian Cancer Risk, journal Epidemiology indicates that a woman with hyperthyroidism has an 80% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, from your Thyroid Guide, Mary Shomon.

by Mary J. Shomon

The March, 2000 issue of the medical journal Epidemiology indicates that a woman with hyperthyroidism has an 80% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. The researchers believe that the connection is related to the inflammation caused by autoimmune hyperthyroidism. The research overall found that a number of factors that cause inflammation in the lining of the ovaries -- conditions such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or even using powder containing talc -- can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. While pregnancy, breastfeeding and birth control pill usage reduced the risk, ovarian cysts increased the risk by 30%; endometriosis by 70% and hyperthyroidism increased the risk by 80%.

This study is the first that has connected hyperthyroidism and ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells are found in the ovary. The ovary is the small, almond-shaped organ located on the side of the uterus. The ovary produces female hormones and stores eggs. Ovarian cancer accounts for 4 percent of all cancers in women. In women age 35-74, ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths. An estimated one woman in 55 will develop ovarian cancer during her lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 25,500 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year, and 14,500 women die of ovarian cancer.

In addition to hyperthyroidism, what are some of the risk factors for ovarian cancer?

  • Having a close relative - mother, sister, daughter - with breast, ovarian or colon cancer.
  • A history of breast, endometrial, or colon cancer.
  • Uninterrupted ovulation (infertility, never used birth control pills, never been pregnant.
  • Increasing age.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer - bloating, pelvic pain, irregular bleeding, unexplained indigestion, gas, bloating -- can be easily overlooked or attributed to other conditions, so it's important to be checked regularly at your annual gynecological checkup. If you are hyperthyroid, or if you have any risk factors for ovarian cancer, you should consider asking your doctor for the CA-125 test, a blood test that can help identify those at increased risk for ovarian cancer, as well as a transvaginal ultrasound.

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