Hearing the word ‘tumor’ is understandably concerning because it is usually associated with cancer. When it comes to uterine fibroids, the majority of tumors are benign (non-cancerous). It doesn’t mean that they are harmless; myomas’ symptoms can be difficult to deal with, and fibromas can lead to anemia, chronic fatigue, and overall lower quality of life.
Fibroids in uterus are muscular growths that can form in various locations: on the wall of the uterus or in the abdominal and endometrial cavities. Although benign, they often cause heavy bleeding, enlarged uterus, pelvic pain, and other symptoms. If fibroids are small, they can cause no symptoms and do not require treatment.
Very rarely a fibroid is cancerous. If there is cancer in fibroids, they are often quite large and may need to be broken apart to be removed. The risk of a cancerous fibroid is approximately 1 in 1,000; if a fibroid is cancerous, a hysterectomy is the only option.
There are a few factors that increase the chance that your fibroid is cancerous. The most important factor is age. Being under the age of 50 reduces the likelihood of cancerous fibroids. Other factors that may increase the risk of cancer are anemia, large fibroid size, or suspicion based on imaging.
However, as of today, there are no studies that can directly link benign uterine fibroids to cancer. In other words, having noncancerous fibroids does not increase your risk of getting cancer in uterus.