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Korean women with uterine leiomyomas increase 4-fold in 12 years
  • By Constance Williams
  • Published 2017.11.09 17:47
  • Updated 2017.11.09 17:47
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The prevalence of uterine leiomyomas among Korean women increased four-fold over a 12-year period, a report said Thursday.

Uterine leiomyoma is benign tumors that arise from the overgrowth of smooth muscle and connective tissue in the uterus. It is the most common benign tumor in women that leads to various clinical symptoms such as pain and compression symptoms as well as infertility.

The Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary's Hospital가톨릭대학교 서울성모병원 said it had conducted a large-scale epidemiologic study of uterine leiomyoma using Big Data, considering the importance of the timing and method of treatment.

The university’s research team, led by Professors Kim Mi-ran김미란 and Kim Seok-il김석일, selected women aged 15 to 55 among a cohort of 1 million from the National Health Insurance Service국민건강보험공단. The prevalence, cumulative incidence, annual incidence, and treatment trends were analyzed using this data, dividing them into five-year age groups.

As a result, the prevalence of uterine leiomyomas in all fertile women increased four-fold from 0.62 percent to 2.48 percent from 2002 to 2013. Of these, 45-49 year-olds have the highest prevalence rate of 5.07 percent in 2013. Also, the annual incidence rate is the highest in the age group, with 2.88 percent in 2013.

The cumulative incidence rate for 11 years was high at 12.5 percent. That of the 35-39 and 40-44 age groups were especially high with 22.3 percent and 21.8 percent, respectively, suggesting that attention should be paid to the examination of uterine leiomyoma from the late 30s.

Caption: Professors Kim Mi-ran and Kim Seok-il

In comparison to the annual growth rate of the year 2003-2013, the comparable rate of the 26-30 age group increased from 0.21 percent to 0.73 percent, a rise of 3.48 times. The second highest incidence of uterine leiomyomas was 2.68 times in the 31-35 age group, confirming that the occurrence of uterine leiomyoma in young women was increasing rapidly.

The researchers confirmed that the rate of uterine leiomyomas in young women was affected by the late marriage age and the age of first birth, the hospital said.

The number of surgical treatments for uterine leiomyomas also increased from 561 in 2003 to 1039 in 2013. Compared to the previous type of surgery, the proportion of uterine myomectomy, which preserves the uterus and retains reproductive potential increased significantly from 22 percent in 2002 to 49 percent in 2013.

"This study will help Korean women analyze medical data and treatment trends of uterine leiomyomas to establish guidelines for screening and treatment standardization," Professor Kim Mi-ran said.

The study also shows that even if a single woman does not have a regular checkup and is diagnosed with uterine leiomyoma, it is important for the patient to receive treatment at the right time and receive treatment at appropriate times, she added.


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