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complex ovarian tumor-
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complex ovarian tumor-

I am scared to death- I am  49. I had a CAT scan thatpicked up a 3.0cm cyst on my left ovary.  I had a internal ultra sound.  I received a  call from my dr. telling me I have a complex tumor on one avary and a beign cyst on the other ovary-  He presented two options, do some blood work and wait six weeks to see if it shrinks or have the ovaries removed.   I have chosen the second option.  I am scared to death.  I hope to be able to have the surgery in the next week and half.
Are most complex ovarain tumors- cancerous?
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16 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I know it is very nerve-wracking.  I had two complex cysts removed in May of '04 - completely benign.  However, the Dr.s usually don't mess around with complex cysts because they very well could be cancerous; they just don't know until they operate, so, therefore, waiting should not be an option.  But did your dr. recommend just removing the cysts instead of the ovaries?  That's what I did and then became pregnant in Aug. of '04 (third beautiful girl).  However, I'm on this forum because I have another cyst with some other uterine issues.  I saw your question so I thought I'd help you in any way I could.  Good luck and try to relax - i know it's hard!
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Avatar_n_tn
You should really see a gyn-onc who specialize in ovarian tumors and could put you at ease.  When surgery is performed for ovarian cysts or tumors you should have a gyn-onc either perform the surgery or be on call in case ovarian cancer is found.  Pathology of a tumor or cyst is the only way they can determine if it's benign - they can't tell for certain from an ultrasound.  Benign ovarian cysts are very common for women.
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Avatar_n_tn
Welcome to the Forum....and don't worry!!!!  Most of these complex cysts are benign....I believe 99% of them are benign and turn out to be nothing but a nuisance and something for us to worry about. :)  I had a complex cyst on my left ovary, 2.5cm, it had one septation in it, and it was giving me all kinds of grief ( bowel problems, stomach upset, pain etc.).  My gyn  suggested waiting also, and for me it worked out since the cyst totally resolved on it's own! It was hard to wait, but now I am glad I did. So you never know.......statistics are on your side that everything will work out fine!! :)
Keep us posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know, it is terrifying.  I am 49, had a 6 cm complex cyst on my ovary (I only had one ovary) and had the ovary removed last year.  It was benign.  (I also had the uterus removed because of other problems). If you lose your ovaries, they most likely will take your uterus too (hello bladder prolapse, etc etc) Can't they just remove the cysts?  If I could go back in time, I would do the wait and watch.  Honestly.  But at the time, you couldn't have convinced me to do that!  What blood work did he suggest?  The CA125 test is not very good.
Surgical menopause is tough.  I wish they had better screening tests.  I HATE the way we are having our healthy organs removed ... "in case" they are cancerous.  Doesn't seem right to me.  Try not to panic...so hard to do, we know.
Best wishes...Katie
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you all for repsonding. I am going to go the removal route.  Menopause will happen to me sonner ot later.  In my case sooner.  I am forty nine and just taking the cyst is not an option.  The ovary has to go to......I am done with having kids.  
I so afraid of OV cancer that this fear is driving me to this decison. I will only allow what is bound to happen , justhappen a litle early for me.

If the cyst turnsout benign and I remove one of my life fears, I will be relieved.

Surgical induced menopause does conern me.  Any insight as to waht I can expect will be grealty appreciated.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Gymmom and other Cysters, I'm about to join the "surgical menopause" club too. After watching & waiting a 5.3cm complex cyst for the past few months, I finally have surgery scheduled for Feb 5 to remove both ovaries & uterus. They're going to try to do it all laparoscopically, though if the cyst is "borderline" or definitely malignant, they'll have to switch to a laparotomy. I know, there's a good chance it's benign, but heck yes I'm scared it might not be. Either way, I'm concerned about having to suddenly deal with menopause.  At 52, I was just about there anyway, but I really don't know what to expect from sudden surgical menopause. To make matters worse, because I had a blood clot (DVT) several years ago, apparently from birth control pills, I can't take any HRT. Soooo, I have to come up with some alternatives for whatever sypmtoms hit.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Karen
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Avatar_m_tn
Since you are 49, and I am guessing not having any more children........its your decision, but your choice to have them removed is the only way to go in my opinion. I had a complex cyst in Nov. HUGE.8.5 cms - and another growing on theother ovary not detected onultrasound.   I went for the whole enchilada, in other words had IT ALL TAKEN OUT on my drs options he gave me.
Dont let complex scare you (I know I was TERRIFIED!!!!!!!) and they were using papillary growth, neoplasm, which my gyn/onc didnt realylike and I was totally benign.  THey do not know until they get in there and not just biosy it but PATHOLOGY rules everything out.......try to relax just a bit, im just about 6 weeks pre op and could nt get through it without hte support here, keep posting.  But I support you on getting those ovaries out, Im 52, and chose no HRT Im experiencing hot flashes but I can live with them..........Your chances are just as high as mine that you will be JUST FINE ------
Take care,
Toadster
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes I was very scared about ovca, my grandmother died from it, my dad had prostate, my cousin is a survivor.  You couldn't have convinced me to watch and wait... my doctor pushed me too, probably because I have finished having my kids.  
  
The surgical menopause is easier if you are prepared.  Your thoughts can be very overwhelming and you can only absorb bits of information at first.  It's gradual.  It takes several months for your own hormones to leave your body. You're not going to turn into a raging lunatic overnight!  My doctor put me on a bioidentical estrogen patch, Estraderm, right away. It works well for me.  I would never, ever take Premarin or Prempro.   After doing a lot of reading, I also asked him for a prescription for bioidential natural progesterone cream, which some people feel is "bogus".  I have it mixed at a compounding pharmacy.  I think it helps my estrogen work better but more studies need to be done in this area.  A book that helped me is The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christianne Northrup. She has a web site too.   I also rub on a small amount of bioidentical natural testosterone.  There is some hormone information at www.hystersisters.com  
But make sure you come back here and talk to us!

I found the surgery hard to recover from.  I didn't start to feel really recovered for at least 3 months.  I was very easily tired.  I experienced insomnia (big time), depression, weight gain, dry vagina, some bladder leakage issues, reduced libido, memory problems and some irritability.  I am OK now, but I have had to work at it.  I have to watch what I eat and get lots of exercise.  The worst is not being able to sleep.  I usually don't have hot flashes, the patch seems to control that quite well.  When I do, they aren't terrible, they are just somewhat uncomfortable. They don't last too long.

There are women here who cannot take any hormones, due to the nature of their diagnosis.

Cagney, hopefully some women will post and tell you about alternatives.  I would investigate for sure that you can't take any hormones.  You might be able to take something, at least something "bioidentical" or "natural" and be carefully monitored.  Maybe just some progesterone.  Look into it.

Just take it one day at a time, ladies....you'll be OK!  
The women here are awesome...
Good luck to you!
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Avatar_m_tn
my apologies ...you should of spoken up sooner, I have trouble seeing the screen.......I shall make every effort to post in lower key.
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree with Anotherkatie.  Although we have many more organs suceptible to cancer than men, we are also not given the research opportunities for all of the organs involved.  So they just say "take it all out."  But, for now, that is all the Dr.s know is the for sure way for women.  And I believe it is being done at extreme rates now because the medical field has just settled that this is the way it should be. I don't think this is fair at all; a man has testical cancer - just cut them off along with the penis and prostate in case it spreads!!??  I don't think so...   That is why women need to be totally proactive in requiring more research and more funding for the many, many different female organ diseases.  And it should start with much, much better early detection testing - that is where the funding should go. Although I contribute to cancer funding, I truly believe that preventive medicine is where the bulk of the dollars should be going.  There may never be a "cure" for cancer, so early detection in any type of cancer is key.  God Bless us all!
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Avatar_n_tn
Did you find that the bioidentical hormones helped your memory?  A specialist in women's issues told me I wouldn't be able to function at my job - that my memory would be horrible.  I have to admit my memory is now very bad.  So bad, I'm considering taking the hormones I swore I'd never take!  She also told me I should take testerone - I don't remember why (lol...bad memory showing thru).  My dr both gyn and family have said if these are my only symtoms (symptoms) (and they are - although some may say I have irritability but I don't think that's changed from before surgery...lol)I shouldn't take anything.  But my memory is SO bad I have to write everything down - if a coworker tells me something I have to tell them to email me the info.  It's real bad.  Now, I'm forgetting I have the emails!  Coworkers are saying "don't you remember the email you sent out" or "I already emailed you that".  They can be understanding only so long.  
What's the difference with bioidentical hormones than the real ones.  And they are available in Canada? by prescription?
Thanks.
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These are the types of discussions that need to happen. My head is spinning right now. I am sure some people look at my posts and think, "There she goes again," or, maybe not, but I am surprised myself what a crusader I have become. From time to time I consider quitting my job so that I can devote more time to spreading the word about some of the misconceptions concerning hormones. But, well, I need to make a living!

Sometimes I read a post where someone has just thrown their hands up (figuratively) saying that they don't want to consider hormone replacement therapy based on recent reports. But, what type of hormones are they talking about? Do they know why the report was published and the sensationalism regarding the results and all of the correct information that is out there but is hidden, or so it seems, unless you dig and dig. I have been digging for six years and my hope is that I can help someone so that at least they have some direction and some guidance.

There was a forum on this website for a few months last year that thankfully is no longer with us. Intent was good in that the site was full of warnings about having a hysterectomy. The passion about spreading the word that women have no idea at all of the reprecusions after a total hysterectomy was understandable. However, the responses were not well executed and, the people leading the site left many angry women is it's wake. It came accross as almost a crime that anyone would consider hysterectomy unless cancer was found. But, I tell you, even if someone needed this surgery because cancer was indicated, you would feel pretty miserable after reading the posts.

My take on all this is that we have to move on and now figure out how to help women to the fullest with correct information. We also have to realize that not all doctors have done in-depth studies on hormones or they rely on what the pharmacuetical companies tell them. I am not against pharmacuetical companies. I do get frustrated that not all of the information is out there. I get frustrated when I hear that some of these bioidenicals have not been proven or studied. Granted, more research is always needed, but there have been studies...there has been proof, even if the proof is anecdotal. I can tell you that I am not sure where I would be right now if not for the bioidentical hormone help I have received all these years.

I get frustrated that women get the "brush-off" all too frequently. I get frustrated that one article is out there and so many incorrect assumptions are then made based on one report. I get very very frustrated when the head of the North American Menopausal Society, which is supported by the pharmaceutical companies, gets on national TV during an interview on menopause and hormones and says, "There is NO difference between a bioidentical hormone and a synthetic hormone." And, then announces the next week that he is recanting that statement. There are differences, he admits. Did anyone see the article on that one? Was it even on TV? I found the "correction" by accident.

You have to realize that you might be the one teaching your doctor about bioidentical hormones. I was lucky enough that my regular (GYN) doctor was willing to be "taught" by the compounding pharmacist I found. I eventually had to move on from the pharmacist and find a specialist that understood my need for a different dose on one of the hormones I take and that the increase in the dose would not cause me harm.

Ok, before I write a book here...here is what I suggest. Google some or all of these people. Invest in their books. Read the articles in either the books or the websites if there are articles over and over.

The people are Christianne Northrup, MD, Erika Schwartz, MD, Ozzi Reiss, and, I know there are more and someone else might come on with different names. Northrup was my first resource. I am comfortable using the hormones based on my own situation. Northrup suggests that in some cases women would not be able to take the bioidentical hormones and even talks about a rare situation where one of the synthetic hormones could be used short term. But, there is no way around doing your own research. Northrup will mention many alternatives to hormones...another reason I like her book, "The Wisdom of Menopause."

My oncologist (surgery took care of my problem and I did not need further treatment or Chemotherapy) started me on the Vivelle patch (a bioidentical estrogen) but I started to feel horrible three months later. I had no hot flashes or night sweats but had other dibilitating symptoms. I realized later that my body had finally depleated itself of Progesterone and testosterone. I started on these hormones along with the estrogen (Vivelle) and started to feel that my life was returning.

The memory function, bone issues, urinary issues, dimentia (dementia) as Katie mentioned, chemical sensitivities, allergies, rapid cell aging, cholesterol (progesterone levels must be good or the cholesterol can rise as mine did when my progestereone was too low), blood sugar issues....You will start to see how critical the balance of hormones is to your symptom.

Chelan, you mentioned testosterone. It is implicated in giving women energy, clarity of mind, help regarding bladder function, as well as libido, of course. The authors I mentioned will share their knowledge on this hormone. Uzzi Reiss has a ton of stuff on testosterone particularly. He talked about how helpful it is regarding bladder issues.

I am trying to stall off having bladder surgery for constant leaking. I have been able to control this through hormone use, particularly estrogen and local (in the vagina) estriol, which I have to get from a compounder. Some women use estrace for this. People think of vaginal dryness and I have suffered from that, but that gets all tied up with vaginal atrophy and then bladder issues. It is all tied up in one big bundle and is mostly all hormone related.

I see I have practically written that book after all! So, I will go and I wish you all the best. Don't give up. There are answers out there.

Mary
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Avatar_m_tn
i FEEL i HAVE TO RESPOND AGAIN TO THE RECENT POSTS WHICH ARE ALL INTERESTING, INFORMATIVE , OBJECTIVE AND "EVERYBODY IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN OPINION AND NOBODY SHOULD BE JUDGED"   EVERY WOMANS PREDICAMENT IS UNIQUE PERIOD.   I HAVE EDUCATED MYSELF AS THOROUGHLY, IM AM AN EDUCATOR, COMMUNICATOR, AND ATTEND SYMPOSIUMS ETC ON WOMENS HEALTH AS I ENTERED PERI MENOPAUSE AT 45 AND STARTED THE PASSAGE AS GAIL SHEEY LIKES TO CALL IT AND SO DO I.  I HAVE TWO OF DR. CHRISTINA NORTHRUPS VOLUMES WHIHC ARE MY BIBLES.   I FEEL IT IS SO EASY FOR ALL OF US TO GET ON HERE VOICE OUR FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, IDEAS, ON FUTURE RESEARCH, NOT DOING ANYTHING IN A RUSH, BUT I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD TOO MANY HORROR STORIES ABOUT WOMEN WHO WAITED TOO LONG, TRIED OTHER OPTIONS, PLAYED WITH HORMONES AND SUFFERED CONSEQUENECES WITH THOSE, AND THE MAJORITY OF WOMEN END UP ON HRT ON A SHORT TERM TIME POST MENOPAUSAL, REGARDLESS OF SURGERY INTERVENTION.   SURGICAL MENOPAUSE IS NOT HELL LIKE SOME REPORT. FOR SOME WOMEN IT IS OKAY, MANAGEABLE AND I AM ONE OF THOSE AS I WAS SO CLOSE TO MENOPAUSE AND THAT WAS MY PERSON DECISION AND AGAIN NOBODY KNOWS IT ALL, THE EXPERTS DONT. I HAVE TO DISAGREE, THERE ARE SOME DRS OUT THERE WHO LOVE OT TAKE IT ALL OUT AND THEIR JOB IS OVER.   BUT HAS ANYBODY READ UP ON AND REALISED THAT AS WE AGE INTO OUR 50S AND 60S IF WE HAVE THESE SERIOUS COMPLEX CYSTS, ARE NOT SOMETHING TO JUST LEAVE AND ALSO STUDIES HAVE SEEN THAT MALIGNANCY INCREASES AS WE AGE,IN THE OVARIES THOSE ARE JUST THE FACTS.   SO I THINK WE SHOULD ALL TAKE A DEEP BREATH, SURE GO AHEAD AND VENT, BUT I ALSO DID HAVE OTHER SURGICAL OPTIONS, JUST TAKE ONE OVARY, NOT THE UTERUS, WELL GUESS WHAT, I PERSONALLY NOT MY GYN/ONC WHO HAPPENS OT BE ONE OF HTE BEST IN THE COUNTRY - DECIDED TO HAVE IT ALL REMOVED, THEY FOUND ANOTHER IDENTICAL COMPLEX CYST GROWIN ON MY OTHER HEALTHY OVARY THAT DID NOT SHOW ON THE ULTRASOUND IT WAS TOO SMALL..........SO NOTHING IS GUARANTEED AND ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.   LETS ENCOURAGE ALL THOSE WHO CHOOSE THEIR OPTIONS WITH THE PROFESSIONALS,LOVED ONES, AND ABOVE ALL THE WISDOM OF THEIR INTUITION AS DR. NORTHRUP  TALKS ABOUT AND OUR BODIES GIRLS.
TOADSTER
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Avatar_f_tn
Please, could you not write in all capitals?  I find posts too difficult to read in that format, and to be honest, I don't bother to try, as it hurts my head!  Thank you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Debbie, about six months after the surgery, my memory was so bad that I became very anxious and then even frightened; this was while on the estrogen alone.  I strongly believe that the Progesterone helped me achieve a better chemical balance.  My gyn did not much approve of it but my GP was willing to write me a prescription for it (I am in Canada too).  You could try a very weak strength and see if it helps.  Honestly, I think I am back to about 85% of what it was before.  There are other aspects to the memory issues... it was effecting me in other ways, as it was so upsetting, and as you say, can make it very challenging to function as you did previously.  As Mary mentions, the testosterone affects it as well.  Perhaps you could get some testing done and see what your levels are....
Good Luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Because a woman is finished having children or is in their late 40s is not a good a reason to remove the ovaries but we continually are fed that line.  Why are men then not having their testicles removed at the same astronomical rates? No pharmacutical can ever replicate your body's delicate balance.  The side effects from surgical menopause may not be apparent for many years in a woman.  There are also hormones produced in your cervix and uterus.  You ovaries continue to produce hormones, small amounts, for many years after menopause. Having your ovaries removed has implications regarding osteoporosis, possible links with dementia, and many other side effects.  
Be sure you are aware of all the ramifications.  

As I said, they need to develop better screening tools, so that they don't have to remove ovaries to determine if they are healthy or not.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, What an informative, supportive Board. I too am scared, 42, two young children, still breastfeeding (have been for the past 5 years), recently separated, 10 lb unintended weight loss in past few months, tingly sensation/dull ache for months and now sharp pelvic pain, just diag w complex cyst yesterday. Mom died of ovarian cancer, paternal grandmother of breast cancer. Radilogist recommended waiting and doing another sonogram 3 days after cessation of next period. I'm scared of malignancy, and what if it is malignant and ruptures, does that spill cancerous cells all over uterous? Any advice would be so much appreciated.  
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