Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I have had Bartholin's cysts for over two years now on and off. Recently I had come across an article concerning Bartholin's gland cancer. How will I know if I have the cancer? Will it show up in the culture?
Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:
Cancer of the Bartholin's gland is very, very rare, and recurrent benign cysts are common. If the cyst continues to recur, you may ask your physician about whether or not you might benefit from "marsupialization" (a procedure to make a small permanent opening in the cyst wall so that fluid doesn't collect again and cause swelling) or removal of the cyst and gland. Cysts that drain and collapse back down with no residual solid area left once the inflammation has resolved are very unlikely to contain a tumor.