Ovarian tumour with teeth discovered at gothic graveyeard

Excavations of a gothic church graveyard in Lisbon, Portugal revealed an ovarian tumour that had started forming teeth.

The ovarian teratoma (by Sofia N. Wasterlaina, Rute V. Alvesb, Susana J. Garciab & António Marques)

The tumour was found during the excavation of 42 burials outside the Church and Convent of Carmo in Lisbon. It was located in the pelvic area of a woman who was over 45 years old at the time of her death The cemetery was used from the early 15th century until 1755 when an earthquake wrecked the church. The excavations were conducted between 2010-11 but the results of the laboratory study if the find were published only recently. The tumour was identified as a teratoma, the most common tumour that occurs in the ovaries. It is said to occur when cells that should become eggs start multiplying abnormally and form mature tissues like hair, teeth and bones. According to experts these cysts account for up to 20 percent of all ovarian tumours, and most develop in women of reproductive age. These masses are usually benign and go unnoticed, without causing any symptoms while some can be cancerous, growing so large that they cause pain, or twisting in the ovaries. The tumour discovered in Lisbon measures 4.3 centimetres in width. It contains at least five malformed teeth and disorganized bone formations.

(after Live Science, International Journal of Paleopathology, Sofia N. Wasterlaina, Rute V. Alvesb, Susana J. Garciab & António Marques)

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