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Debunking the Myths about Fibroids

Fibroids are common benign tumors of the uterus in one out of 5 women ages 18-50.† Despite the fact that they are so common, there is not a lot of common knowledge circulating about fibroids. . .yet there are several common myths.

The first is a great relief to debunk-- the myth that fibroids lead to cancer. In fact, 999 out of 1000 fibroids are not cancerous.† In the 1 out of 1000 cases that lead to cancer, women are generally over age 50 or their fibroids grow very rapidly.

Fibroids also DO NOT increase your chances of endometrial cancer, or cancer of the lining of the womb. †Fibroids are associated with a fourfold increase in the risk of endometrial cancer, but fibroids don't cause this.†† The same factors that increase your risk for fibroids also increase your risk for endometrial cancer.

If you have fibroids, you don't necessarily need a hysterectomy. Now,† even those fibroids that cause bothersome symptoms can often be treated with medicine or a lesser surgical procedure. This is of particular importance to women with fibroids who want to be able to become pregnant.

Another myth is that if you have fibroids, you can't become pregnant. Fibroids can prevent pregnancy in some patients, but most women with fibroids will never even know that they have them. Pregnancy can cause fibroids to grow and in some patients, fibroids may cause miscarriages or other complications.

Finally, there is a myth that if you have fibroids, you can't take birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy. There is no association between birth control pills and fibroid growth or recurrence, despite the fact that they contain estrogen.† Women entering menopause who have large or symptomatic fibroids should† discuss estrogen usage with their physician on a case by case basis, considering all risks and benefits.

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Created: 3/2/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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