Adnexal tumors are abnormal growths that develop on the connective tissues and the organs that surround a woman’s uterus. They may form on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the connective tissues around the fallopian tubes or the ovaries.
While adnexal tumors that arise from the follicular epithelium or sweat and sebaceous glands are usually benign, some can be malignant. Concern for malignancy is higher in postmenopausal and prepubescent women.
Adnexal tumors that are well-characterized, small, and not causing any symptoms can be left alone to resolve on their own. They can also be tracked through regular pelvic exams, as well as radiographic evaluations.
If you become symptomatic, if the mass grows, or if the adnexal tumor begins to change and develop features like solid components that are more indicative of a malignancy, treatment would be necessary to remove the mass.
While studies have been done (and are ongoing) to determine the exact causes of adnexal tumors, doctors do not currently know what these causes are. What they do know for sure about adnexal tumors and what causes them amounts to a short list of general risk factors based on patients that have been previously diagnosed with the condition.
Adnexal tumors are far more prevalent in women than in men because most are found in the connective tissue around the uterus.
Older women seem to be more likely to have them than younger ones.
Even though no one knows the exact causes of adnexal tumors, there are a few theories about what those causes could be. One theory suggests that the tumors are the result of a variation of normal follicle formation in a woman’s reproductive system. Another believes they occur when abnormal germ cells grow and spread.
Treatment for an adnexal tumor will depend upon the types of cells that are involved, as well as the location of the mass.
Benign or malignant
Most adnexal tumors will shrink and then disappear in the course of a menstrual cycle. However, if the tumor were to grow or remain within the uterus, fallopian tube, or ovary, it would need to be evaluated carefully by a doctor with the help of blood tests and imaging, such as ultrasound, to determine if the mass is benign or malignant.
If an adnexal tumor is cancerous, surgery is a form of treatment that can remove the tumor and additional tissue in order to minimize the odds of the cancer spreading or recurring. Following surgery, treatment with chemotherapy is likely.
With no exact causes known for adnexal tumors, there is no way to know how to prevent them from occurring. Treatment will be necessary once someone is diagnosed. Sometimes, the tumor is benign and will do no harm outside of the pain and discomfort they cause. Others, however, are malignant and if not treated and removed, can cause the spread of tumors throughout the body.
The best thing that an individual can do at this point is to pay attention when they start experiencing symptoms for any condition, and to seek medical treatment to determine what is going on in their body. Doing so may not prevent adnexal tumors from happening in the first place, but it will slow down or even prevent its spread should the tumor prove to be malignant.