The term “involuting cyst” can seem worrisome to a woman who’s concerned about ovarian cancer.
She may see “involuting” in her medical report or hear her doctor use it but be afraid to ask what it means.
“Involuting cyst means it is collapsing and resolving, suggesting it is benign,” says Julian Schink, MD, Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Medical Director of Gynecologic and Medical Oncology, Midwestern Regional Medical Center.
“Often these are just large follicles that filled with blood or fluid and are slowing going away. Cancer rarely shrinks without treatment.”
If an ultrasound reveals a cyst-like mass (cyst means filled with fluid), your doctor may want you to have a follow-up ultrasound a month later to see if the cyst has increased or decreased in size.
An increase in the size of a cyst-like mass doesn’t always mean cancer, but what’s really encouraging is when the next ultrasound shows that it has shrunk or is involuting.
Be aware that just because an ultrasound has picked up a cyst for the first time, doesn’t mean that the cyst has reached its maximum size.
It may still get larger—as part of its benign lifecycle—before it finally starts shrinking and resolving.
This is why sometimes serial ultrasonography will be recommended monthly over three or four months.
A follicular cyst is a normal development as a result of an egg (ovum) being released.
Sometimes the follicle that had contained the egg lingers around for a while and gets bigger, but eventually it will go away.