A recent report published in Lancet Oncology has raised again the possibility that endometriosis and certain types of ovarian cancer may be closely linked. The authors admit that further analysis is required although suggest that people should consider ongoing surveillance. Unfortunately there are significant problems with the data particularly the patient recollection of a diagnosis of endometriosis. Ovarian cancer is rare occurring with an approximate 1% lifetime risk. The available data consistently indicate that women with endometriosis may have a modest (approximately 50% increase in risk) and this may only relate to those patients with ovarian involvement and possibly only those with the larger endometriomas. This would therefore mean that they have a lifetime risk of 1.5% of developing ovarian cancer rather than 1%. At this stage I plan to limit surveillance only to those with the larger types of endometriomas and possibly those who have also undergone ovulation stimulation with IVF. Further information is available on a recent blog of Marya Zilberberg.
At this stage whilst there is almost certainly a link between the 2 conditions the situation is far from resolved and other than in certain selected circumstances I do not believe regular surveillance is required.