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Old 08-13-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
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Question 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Hi i was wondering if any one else my age,AND has gone through menopause has developed a cyst on the ovary.
I have not had a period for 13 years.
My doctor said its not necessary to remove them unless the ultrasound shows them to be suspicious.
But a nurse i kno,w said they should be removed.
And on the net i read where having a cyst after menopause is not common,and should be closely monited.
The xray place where i had the ultrasound, said it looks benign,but they wrote that another ultrasound should be done in 6 months, to check for any change.
Its only 5mm big.
My daughter who is 41, has just got over a hysterectomey because she had a cyst which was malignant,and it was 3 centermeters big.
I have got my cyst on the same side ovary, as my daughter had hers.
With regards from bess01.

 
Old 08-13-2008, 11:52 AM   #2
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Bess01,

I really can't help you out with your questions concerning ovarian cysts and what not...I really do not have any experience in that area. I just wanted to let you know that I will say a special little prayer just for you and you will be in my thoughts. Please do let us know once you go back to the doctor.

~Melissa~

 
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:10 PM   #3
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Bess, I'm not very knowledgeable about ovarian cysts, but wanted to pop in and say Hi and to tell you that some other people will be in soon and give your more information!

Take care of yourself!

 
Old 08-14-2008, 12:56 PM   #4
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Hello Bess,

I am a forty two year old woman and last September they found an 8 cm simple cyst on my left ovary. Since I am premenopausal and the cyst looked benign, they decided to keep an eye on it until it was gone. Well here I am almost a year later and the cyst is still there so needless to say, it is not a functional cyst that comes and goes with ovulation.

Throughout the past year I have read avidly on the subject of ovarian cysts and there is a lot of research on ovarian cysts that occur to postmenopausal women (women over 50 years of age).

When an ovarian cyst is found in a postmenopausal woman the tendency is to be more careful. This is because you are no longer supposed to be ovulating and should therefore not have functional cysts and also because the older you get the higher the risk of cancer (ovarian cancer is still rare but most ovarian cancers occur in the postmenopausal age group). Having said that, the recent arrival of the ultrasound has meant that they are finding MANY more cases of ovarian cysts in both pre and post menopausal women. Usually these are found when they do an ultrasound for some other reason unrelated to the cyst. Often these cysts are asymptomatic and this is why they never found them before. As a result, there are thousands of women who are having surgery to remove benign cysts. If a cyst looks dangerous (very large cysts and / or complex cysts with both solid and liquid components) it definitely makes sense to go ahead with surgery as these are the most likely to be malignant. As it turns out, most of these cysts are also benign.

In the most recent studies of ovarian cysts in postmenopausal women it was found that up to 20% of postmenopausal women have ovarian cysts. This means that it is not as unusual as they originally thought. Also, one study in particular looked at some 15,000 women over 50 years of age who had no symptoms. They took ultrasounds of these women and indeed many of them had ovarian cysts. For the benign looking cysts meaning unilocular, thin walled, fluid filled and less than 10 cm not a single woman went on to develop ovarian cancer. If memory serves, there were some three cases in the other group who developed ovarian cancer but this occured after their cysts had resolved on their own.

In your case, the fact that your daughter had ovarian cancer may mean that you need to keep a closer eye on things. By having you return in six months they are probably thinking that the cyst will resolve on its own as most of them do (even in postmenopausal women .. the ovary can reabsorb the cyst). If not, they may want to do a laparoscopy to have it removed. Have you considered taking the CA-125 blood test ? This test looks at the amount of a certain cancer antigen that is usually elevated in ovarian cancer cases. 0-35 is a normal reading. The test is not very reliable in premenopausal women and it can be elevated for benign reasons such as menstruation. However, it is more accurate for post menopausal women and you may wish to request it.

If you are extremely anxious, why not go for an ultrasound in a shorter amount of time (say in 10 weeks or so) and have the CA-125 test done as well. If the cyst is still there and it really bothers you, you can insist that they remove it. Your peace of mind is extremely important and they should know that. You may wish to go with a transvaginal ultrasound instead of the external one. It has a higher resolution and can therefore get a better look at the cyst AND you can have a doppler flow analysis done at the same time. This looks at blood flow around the cyst and can give some additional information as to the cyst's characteristics.

I hope I have managed to help a little bit. Try to help yourself by remaining in good spirits and taking care of yourself. It is very easy to sink into an obsessive state of anxiety over something like this but try not to do that by maintaining a positive outlook.

Take care and if you need support, we are always here. I find that the ladies on these boards are truly wonderful and supportive about these issues.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 10:24 PM   #5
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Hi Estria,

thank you for your very informative post. It is much appreciated. There is not much left that's not been covered in it.

Quote:
Often these cysts are asymptomatic and this is why they never found them before.
I am wondering if the fact that they have become symptomatic - which is the sole reason for their discovery- means trouble? I am 49. There are some other things besides the cyst. I have to wait to learn more. Any information about symptomatic cysts and polyps would be appreciated.

FG

 
Old 08-18-2008, 05:46 AM   #6
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Hi flowergirl,

No, ovarian cystic symptoms don't necessarily mean that the cyst is more or less dangerous. Many cysts that cause problems are found to be benign when they are removed. In contrast, most women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer often don't present with symptoms until the disease has progressed. Also, these symptoms don't necessarily come in the form of ovarian pain but more in the form of gastro-intestinal problems (alternating constipation & diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, nausea etc..) This is what is so disquieting about OvC. Its symptoms are also symptoms for more common problems or other problems (IBS for example). Persistence of these symptoms is what should alert someone to seek help however, I have heard of many instances where benign ovarian cysts cause the same type of symptoms so medical consultation is essential.

On the bright side, they are currently working on an ovarian cancer test at Yale that has an accuracy of 99% for finding early ovarian cancer (!). This test looks at six biomarkers, evidence of the proteins leptin, prolactin, osteopontin, insulin-like growth factor II, macrophage inhibitory factor and CA-125. Individually each item is not fully reliable but when put together you get a much higher predictive value for early stage ovarian cancer. This means that we will no longer have to put up with all of this uncertainty.

The future looks bright.

Hope this helps.

 
Old 08-18-2008, 07:48 AM   #7
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Estria,

thank you so much. I have all of the gastric problems you mentioned and then some. I will know more in a couple of weeks. I am sure I'll have more questions then. There is so much information about women's issues available here, thanks to many knowledgable posters. How great to be able to talk to people with the same issues and learn from their experiences! Makes things a lot easier for the newbies.

flowergirl

 
Old 08-25-2008, 07:09 AM   #8
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Dear estria,
Thank you so much for your kind letter.Sorry i took so long to respond.
I have had a CA-125 blood test,and this showed elevated readings of 41.This was the reason why i had to have an ultrasound done.It was my FIRST ever transvaginal ultrasound.
I have asked my GP to make it 3 months instead of 6 months,for the next ultrasound.
Also, i will ask my GP, if the doppler flow analysis was done that time,and if not, can i have it done this time.With best wishes, from bess.

 
Old 08-26-2008, 05:29 AM   #9
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Re: 61yrs old with an ovarian cyst

Hello Bess,

Don't worry about replying. I am happy to help if I can. I still remember how scared and alone I felt when they found my ovarian cyst and if I can help just a few people not to feel that way by arming them with accurate information, it makes me feel better too.

A CA-125 of 41 is slightly elevated but not overly so. A friend of mine (post menopausal) who was diagnosed with stage III / stage IV ovarian cancer last September had a CA-125 reading of 111. As her treatment progressed this came down to about 9. My sister in law (premenopausal) also had an elevated reading when they discovered a large (12cm) septated, complex cyst on her ovaries. In her case, the cyst was benign. I also conversed with someone on these boards who was postmenopausal and had a complex ovarian cyst with a CA-125 reading of 91. When she had it removed she discovered it was benign. So as you can see this test on its own is not extremely reliable.

I think that your main issue is the fact that your daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This fact, in addition to the CA-125 and the size & morphological characteristics of the cyst should be factors that go into deciding whether or not to have it removed. Cysts that are less than 10 cm can be "judged" according to how they look. Cysts of this size that are unilocular, filled with fluid, thin walled and with no septations (ie. inner divisions) are not likely to be dangerous. Cysts that are greater than 10 cm and/or complex in nature should really be removed in order to be sure.

You should be aware of these considerations because I feel that the patient has as much if not more say in what course of treatment should be followed. Needless to say, symptoms are also a big factor in making a decision to have a cyst removed, benign or not. I think you made a very wise decision to move your ultrasound up to 12 weeks. You may also wish to have an additional CA-125 test at that time to see if there is any change. Be careful and be healthy, that is my motto in situations like these.

Cancer can happen to any one of us at any time, whether or not we have an ovarian cyst or some other abnormal bodily growth. It is the state of your body that will determine whether or not any potential for cancer becomes a reality (keep in mind that most early cancer cells are invisible to scans and don't show up as large cysts). Your body maintains a naturally hostile environment for cancer cells but when it is not kept in good shape then this is when that environment can change into a cancer friendly one. All of us have at least some control over the state of our health so we ourselves can help to maintain that appropriate environment in our bodies. This is more powerful and effective than any treatment drug because it solves the problem at the earliest stages.

Live a healthy lifestyle and keep a positive outlook. This is the absolute best that we all can do in order to live a long and happy life. It is not always easy but certainly a goal worth achieving.

Come back and let us know how you are doing. I wish you all the best.

Estria

 
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