Uterine Fibroids: Are They Cancerous Or Life Threatening?
WHAT ARE UTERINE FIBROIDS?
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors. In simple words uterine fibroids are non-cancerous muscle tumors. Uterine fibroids are not at al related to cancer.
UTERINE FIBROIDS LOCATION
Uterine cancers attack the main reproductive organ – the uterus. Uterine fibroids remain attached to the uterus wall. Uterine fibroids can also develop within the uterine wall. Uterine fibroids are also known as Myoma, Fibromyoma, and Leiomyoma.
UNDERSTANDING CELLS, TISSUES, ORGANS AND TUMORS
Cells are the basic units of our lives. New cells are born when the old ones die out. These new-born normal cells divide and grow to form tissues. Tissues of the same kind combine to form our organs.
Mentionably, our bodies need a constant refurbishment of such new cells. But at times this automatic process (of cells taking birth as some die) gets a jolt. During such crucial junctures, the tumors take control of certain parts of our bodies.
Therefore, tumors are mass of extra tissue cells. They appear as abnormal growth mass of the cells.
TUMORS: BENIGN & MALIGNANT
First and foremost, benign tumors are not cancerous and are not life threatening.
Second, malignant or cancerous tumors are life-threatening.
Third, benign tumors can be easily removed by the surgeon.
Fourth, the benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors do.
Fifth, benign tumors rarely reform once they are removed. But malignant tumors can return.
BENIGN CONDITIONS OF THE UTERUS
The benign conditions of the uterus are fibroids, Endometriosis and Endometrial hyperplasia.
Fibroids: The uterine fibroids are uncannily common. They grow in the uterine muscles. They occur mainly in women between their forties and fifties. Many fibroids may appear simultaneously. Fibroids never degenerate into cancer. The fibroids become smaller and disappear after a woman reaches menopause.
Hence no treatment is required for fibroids. Fibroids can stay within the body without symptoms. However, fibroids can lead to frequent urination, excessive vaginal discharge, and bleeding. Such complications appear if the uterine fibroids appear near any organs. Doctors advice is must for any patient suffering from such symptoms.
Mentionably, the patients suffering from uterine fibroids are asked to go for surgeries if the fibroids put pressure on the important organs. Surgeries are suggested if the uterine fibroids can be painful.
Endometriosis: Endometriosis is another benign state affecting the uterus. Mostly women in their forties and especially those who were never pregnant are affected by this benign tumor. Endometriosis develops when the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and spreads on to the organs nearby. Endometriosis can cause excessive bleeding from the vagina, painful menstrual periods, and infertility (ability to get pregnant). The fact is that Endometriosis cannot be cancerous. Endometriosis is generally treated with surgery or hormones.
Endometrial hyperplasia: Endometrial hyperplasia takes place when cells increase in numbers in the uterine linings. It is another form of benign tumor. But, at times, endometrial hyperplasia can become cancerous. The symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia are bleeding in the post-menopause phase, bleeding between two successive menstruations and heavy periods. Women beyond 40 years of age are affected by endometrial hyperplasia. As preventive measures, the patients are advised to go for either progesterone (hormonal treatment) or hysterectomy (uterus removal). Periodical follow-up tests are also necessary after any of these procedures to obviate the possibility of this benign tumor turning cancerous.
As opposed to these three forms of benign tumors, the malignant tumors are cancerous. Hence malignant tumors are dangerous and pose threats to life. Malignant tumors even penetrate into the lymphatic system or the bloodstream. These malignant tumors not only spread (metastasize) very fast to other organs but also permanently harm the vital organs.
UTERINE FIBROID SYMPTOMS
The uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors and quite common. Uterine fibroids can leave diverse effects on the patients. The woman having uterine fibroids can feel long durations of pelvic pressure at times accompanied by pain. Uterine fibroids may also lead to infertility or miscarriage. Moreover, uterine fibroids can cause heavy menstruation (periods).
WHEN DO UTERINE FIBROIDS DEVELOP?
One woman out of every four is susceptible to uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids appear between the post-puberty productivity stage and the pre-menopausal phase. The vulnerable age-group period is from 30 to 50 years. Notably, women below 20 years do not suffer from uterine fibroids.
THE BEST WAY TO TACKLE UTERINE FIBROIDS
Tackle the uterine fibroids in the easiest way: Don’t take estrogen after menopause. The uterine fibroids will shrink by themselves.
THE MOST VULNERABLE SECTION
Studies have found that that the section most vulnerable to uterine fibroids are the African-American womenfolk.
DIAGNOSING UTERINE FIBROIDS
Any health care provider can diagnose uterine fibroids through a simple routine checkup. To confirm the presence of uterine fibroids, the patients may have to go for ultrasound test.
Frequently Asked Questions
ovarian cancer, fibroid tumors, sickle cell?
Hello, I have a friend who has ovarian cancer, cancerous fibroid tumors that are huge and sickle cell. I have been trying to help her through this very rough time. She is not saying much but she has had this for over a year and new cancer cells are growing. They have not operated, Am I too assume that they are too far gone and that they cannot? Her blood is always a factor but I am confused. Why wouldnt the doctors take out what should not be in there?
She takes morphine shots once in a while which signals to me they are just treating the pain.
Please help me understand. And one more thing, she did have it in her colon also but states it is gone?
Thanks so much.
most of the time when you have ovarian cancer, when you find out you have it , its already advanced. my motherin law had it, she had no symptonsat all, so she was just treated for the pain also, be there for your friend
1986 my mother was diagnosed w/fibroid tumors, (outside the uterus) are they cancerous/life threatening now?
My mother has had a continuous problem with bleeding for the past 7 years and her abdomen is bloated also. Could she have them safely removed now or have they turned into cancer tumors? She’s too scared to go to the doctor for fear they will tell her she’s about to die (she real old fashioned). Thanx for any advice!!
I’d bet that your mother’s fibroids are inside the uterus, not outside. Yes, sometimes they do grow outside, but those do not cause heavy bleeding.
Fibroids are almost always benign–but they are a nuisance. Basically, they are growths within the muscle of the uterine wall, and/or under the lining. They cause heavy periods, a protruding abdomen (looks like pregnancy), and backaches, among other symptoms. But the real problem is if your mom’s periods are so heavy that she’s always anemic…out of breath, cold, and lightheaded.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that many women over 40 have fibroids, although most don’t cause any problems.
Your mom could do nothing now and wait until menopause, when the reduction in hormones causes the tumors to shrink–but the inconvenience and worry that her current symptoms are causing should be reason enough to see the doctor just for a basic exam and a blood test to measure her iron levels.
If the fibroids need to come out, then there are many surgical choices she can make, depending on how big her fibroids are. A skilled surgeon with experience can often remove only the tumors, leaving her uterus intact. If the tumors are large, your mother could have a simple hysterectomy and leave her ovaries intact. It’s important that she find an OB-GYN surgeon with a track record of preserving organs as much as possible.
There are also some newer methods that involve blocking the blood vessels that feed the fibroids so that they die off in time, but this is usually for women with only a few fibroids. And if heavy bleeding is the worst symptom, your mother might be a candidate for the procedure where a heated balloon-like device cauterizes the uterine lining to stop the bleeding without invasive surgery. This doesn’t make the fibroids stop growing, but it does treat the anemia.
Tell your mother not to worry, and have a check up to see what’s going on. Remember–she is in control of any decision, and a second opinion is always a good idea.
And do read up on the subject. There are many resources online. This condition is way more common than you think. And again–it is almost NEVER cancer.
What treatment do you recommend for fibroid tumors?
I was diagnosed with having fibroid tumors back in April. I have two tumors the size of golf balls on my uterus, so far non cancerous. I have some pain and discomfort and heavy uncontrolled bleeding spells. My gyn acts like it’s no big deal, but I don’t like feeling this way all the time. Does anyone have any advice?
The only treatment for fibroid tumors is surgery. All it is, is thick tissue that causes pain. I had them too and after a while, they had to be removed because they got so big. There’s no pill to make them go away. If you feel pain from them, use a warm heating pad and it really eases up the pain. Good luck
How do you know if your fibroid is cancerous or not?
I have a rather large fibroid (tumor) on my uterus, and from my research, they are said to be “benign”, and a very small percentage develops cancer. But how do you know if they are? How do the doctors find out?
I’m just really worried because the one I have is rather large and I am very young.
They take a biopsy of it (they remove a small piece of the fibroid) and send it to the lab for testing.
If a fibroid tumor becomes calcified, does that mean it is more suseptible to becoming cancerous?
Does it need to be monitored?
Any tumor should be monitored. If they are calcified, it’s more reason for concern.
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