Uterine fibroids are usually benign, or noncancerous, many people still wonder about the relationship between fibroids and cancer, especially when 70 to 80 percent — develop fibroids before age 50. Uterine fibroids are very common. However, in a few, rare cases, they can contain cancer.
What Is Fibroid Cancer?
Fibroid cancer, also called leiomyosarcoma, refers to a fibroid composed of cancer cells. In comparison to noncancerous fibroids, cancerous fibroids grow quickly and may spread cancer cells to other parts of the body if left untreated or treated incorrectly. Doctors believe that leiomyosarcomas arise independently of existing fibroids, which means that existing fibroids don’t increase your chances of developing fibroid cancer.
Symptoms of Fibroid Cancer
Because normal uterine fibroids and cancerous fibroids both grow in the same locations, it can be difficult to tell them apart, especially since they may cause similar symptoms. Due to the risk cancerous fibroids pose, it’s essential to seek advice from a doctor or specialist to obtain a proper diagnosis.
In addition to symptoms associated with normal uterine fibroids, signs that a fibroid may be cancerous include:
Quick growth of the fibroid
Anemia from heavy bleeding
Unusual findings from imaging tests
How Common is Uterine Leiomyosarcoma?
Uterine leiomyosarcoma occurs in approximately 1 in 10,000 women in the general population. When the symptoms listed above are present, leiomyosarcoma is found in nearly one in 350 women with an even higher incidence in women above the age of 40.
How Worried Should You Be About Fibroid Cancer?
Since less than 1 in 1,000 are found to be cancerous, it is highly unlikely that your fibroid would contain cancerous cells. Your doctor /fibroid specialist will review all ultrasounds and MRIs very closely to determine if a fibroid is cancerous or not. If more tests are needed to verify, your doctors will create a plan that fits this need and decide about the treatment plan.