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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Choriocarcinoma
      Category : Health Centers > Cancers and Tumors


Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Choriocarcinoma is a rare form of cancer in the tissues of the reproductive system. This type of cancer most often affects women. But it can also include a rare type of testicular cancer in men.

Choriocarcinoma in women usually follows a pregnancy. It is more common after a molar pregnancy. A molar pregnancy is one in which a fetus does not develop. A tumor made up of abnormal cells develops instead of a baby. The tumor of the molar pregnancy is usually benign, which means it is not cancer. Molar pregnancies are more common in less developed parts of the world where nutrition is poor. Choriocarcinoma is also more common in those areas.

What is going on in the body?

Choriocarcinoma develops from reproductive tissue cells, which are very active. When these cells undergo cancerous changes, they grow and multiply very rapidly. A tumor forms and sheds cancer cells into the bloodstream at an early stage. The cancer cells in the bloodstream develop new cancers in other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis. If choriocarcinoma is not treated successfully, these tumors throughout the body can result in damage. And that can quickly lead to death.

What are the causes and risks of the disease?

The exact cause of choriocarcinoma is unknown. A woman whose diet is low in protein and other nutrients is known to be at higher risk for molar pregnancies. A woman who has had a molar pregnancy is also at high risk for choriocarcinoma.


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Choriocarcinoma: Symptoms & Signs

Author: Miriam P. Rogers, EdD, RN, AOCN, CNS
Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
Date Reviewed: 02/11/02

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