If your doctor tells you that you have a complex ovarian cyst or complex ovarian mass, it means that you have a growth on your ovary that is composed of more than one part.  Most ovarian cysts are simply filled with fluid.  Complex ovarian cysts contain both liquid and solid components.  Sometimes these can even be separated by a wall and become know as a septated cyst.

Most of the time, this type of cyst is harmless.  However, there is a small chance (less than 5%) that it is cancerous.  For this reason, most doctors will recommend you have surgery so they can biopsy the cyst.  It is the only way to absolutely rule out cancer.

There are a few tests that you should ask for before you have the surgery.  These can give you and the doctor a better idea of what you are dealing with.  One of the most common is a blood test for CA-125.  Elevated levels of this hormone are found in 80% of women with ovarian cancer.  If it’s not elevated, then your chances of cancer are somewhat less.  However, having normal levels does not completely rule out cancer.

It can be scary to think about having surgery for this, especially when the chances of it being cancer are relatively low.  However, since ovarian cancer is usually not diagnosed until it’s too late to treat, it’s best to rule out the possibility while it is still relatively contained.

Usually, doctors will do a laparascopy to remove the cyst.  However, if the solid component is over 2 ½ inches in diameter, they may need to do a traditional abdominal surgery.  Also, if the doctor finds evidence of cancer while doing the laparascopy, he will often change the procedure in order to make sure any possible cancer is removed.  It will cause you to have a longer recovery time, but if it turns out you do have cancer, it is worth it.