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Postmenopausal Ovarian Cyst
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Postmenopausal Ovarian Cyst

I'm a postmenopausal woman and have been diagnosed with an Ovarian Cyst.  I've had some bouts of unexplained pelvic pain over the last few years - and also some recurring back pains.  This cyst was discovered while I was going through some tests for another issue, which turned out fine.  During the CAT scan they detected the cyst on my ovary and sent me for ultrasound to check on this issue.  They determined that I had an Ovarian cyst approximately 5 cm in size.  The gynecologist said that it wasn't that normal for women my age to develop cysts, and when they do they don't usually disperse by themselves since I don't ovulate any longer.  The cyst looked like it was a "simple" cyst - all fluid.  And, he also said that there is no telling how long I've had this cyst - it could have developed years ago, so may not be anything serious.  He suggested that we do a second Ultrasound in 6 weeks and see if it is growing and then determine the best course of action.

Yesterday I received the results of the second Ultrasound and it showed that the cyst was the tiniest bit smaller - by about 1/10th of a cm.  The reduction was so small that we both wondered if that may not have been a misread on the part of the technician that analyzed the results - as these cysts in postmenopausal women don't disperse on their own.  Anyway - I'm in a quandry about what to do now.  The doctor is not telling me which course of action to take as he thinks it is probably just a benign cyst - but also admits that he could be wrong.  I've done extensive reading on this and have learned that since I'm postmenopausal I'm at slightly higher risk for this to be cancerous.  Also, I've never had children so this further  increases my risk.  The doctor says that its not necessary to remove the cyst - we can just monitor it for growth every few months.  However, with everything I've read about this I also learned that the early stages of Ovarian cancer can last for a long time before its accurately diagnosed - and then it may be too late.

I discussed all of this with the doctor and he is not telling me which way to go.  He says that perhaps since I do have some pain, and that I am very worried about this - a laparoscopy may be the best option for me.  He further said that perhaps I may want the ovary removed along with the cyst - just to eliminate altogether the possibility of more cysts in the future that may be cancerous even if this one isn;t.  And, he said that if I wanted the other ovary also removed during this procedure that could be done as well - which would eliminate the possibility of my getting cysts on that one in the future.   He said there aren't any substantive negative affects of this procedure - but as is always the case with any kind of surgery, anything can happen.  So, I'm in a quandry as to what to do and just wanted some feedback from someone that may have gone through this.  I'm leaning toward removing both ovaries and eliminating any possible risk of cancer for the future.  I would love to hear some feedback on this to assist me in making this decision.

Sorry for rambling on so long, but my mind is just in a jumble as I think through all the possible ramifications of this....
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356929_tn?1246393356
Hi,

I can only respond with my own experience.. I too am post menopausal and a few years ago an ovarian cyst was discovered. ( I thought I had diverticulitis since the pain was similar). In any event, I was given the same advice... Even though cysts are not as common as those in younger women, they still are 95% benign. However, I'm not much on "waiting" so I chose to have the ovary and tube removed. I thought this would be a great opportunity to have the whole kit and kaboodle out, but my surgeon said no way on that ! She's not one for removing healthy organs and felt at my age , having one cyst didn't predispose me to another. So the other ovary was left .There are those in the medical field that feel there is a benefit in keeping that other ovary.Others are more than happy to remove both.

The final decision is between you and your Dr.. I just didn't want to fool around every few months having another US and worrying about it.. The procedure was done laparoscopically and on an outpatient basis. I was told it was a "piece of cake" and it truly was. I felt fine in a week, however couldn't drive or lift anything heavy for 2 weeks. Three small incisions, a little bruising and soreness , of course, for a few days, but otherwise an easy procedure.

Please keep us posted and good luck with whatever your decision.

Sandy
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Avatar_f_tn
When my post-menopausal cyst (over 10 cm) was discovered, my gyn immediately referred me to a gynecologist/oncologist, even though it was just a fluid filled cyst that appeared benign.  The gyn/onc strongly recommended immediate removal of the cyst and both ovaries and said I would "feel better" without ovaries and it would make no big difference in my life to lose them now.  It's been 1 year and 1 week since the surgery and I have to say that my gyn/onc was right.  I feel wonderful without the dang ovaries that were making me feel so awful.

My gyn/onc was VERY much in favor of laparotomy only because he wanted to perform a clean removal of the cyst with no spillage of its contents.  No doctor knows for certain if a cyst will have cancer cells in it and gyn/onc's are among the most cautious of specialists who want to give you the absolute best outcome to be cancer free if any early development of cancer has occurred that is not being detected in pre-screening tests.

Laparotomy is no joke.  I was out of work for 6 weeks and did not feel like my old self again until 10 weeks.  The full surgery story is in my profile.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi-I realize that your post is from 2010 and now its 2013. I'd  be interested in knowing what your final decision was (wait and watch or remove). I've found myself in your same predicament; however, I've already made my decision even though I haven't seen the specialist yet. The fact that you were symptomatic automatically elevates the concern according to the research I've read. I've been symptomatic and honestly? I don't want to be thinking about an ovarian cyst sitting inside me and not knowing ( for sure) if it's benign or malignant--it's not normal for post menopausal women to have any type of growth on their ovary and the very fact that a doc can not say for sure if it's malignant not, is enough for me to say, "yank it!".
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