There are several types of cancers that are seen throughout the world’s population. For women, one of the cancers that they must worry about is Endometrial cancer.
This type of cancer affects women only as it is a cancer that is seen in the uterus. This type of cancer is also known as uterine cancer.
The good news is that this can be detected at an early stage because it usually produces unusual bleeding which prompts many women to visit their doctor to find out what could be happening.
The Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer
For women who have symptoms that they cannot explain, they often see help from a doctor to determine what could be the issue. This is specifically important for women who show the symptoms of developing this cancer.
These symptoms include:
- Vaginal bleeding after experiencing menopause
- Having bleeding between regular periods for women who have not gone through menopause
- Having a discharge from the vagina that is abnormal, meaning it may be watery or tinged with blood
- Pelvic pain
If any of these symptoms are felt, then a woman needs to make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Causes of Endometrial Cancer
The real causes of endometrial cancer are not known. However, what is known is that something occurs in the cells of the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus.
This is a genetic mutation of the cells that turns the cells into abnormal cells rather than the normal, healthy cells that were normally found within the uterus.
Those cells that are abnormal are going to continue to grow and then multiply, spreading the cancer throughout the body in extreme cases.
Who is at Risk?
Most women are at risk for developing this cancer throughout their lives. However, there are some risk factors that will increase the chances of a woman developing this cancer. These risk factors include:
– Changes in the hormones in the body. In the female body, there are two hormones, estragon and progesterone.
In certain situations, if something causes the level of estrogen to increase while the progesterone does not, it increases the chances of having endometrial cancer. In addition, the increase of certain hormones after menopause can cause this cancer to occur.
– How many years have you been menstruating? This is an important question, as the longer that you have your period, the more likely you are to develop this cancer as you age. For those women who start menstruating before the age of 12, they are going to have an increased risk of developing this cancer.
– For women who have never been pregnant, they are at an increased chance of developing this type of cancer versus a woman who has had at least one child.
– The older you get, the more likely you are to develop this cancer.
– Being obese can increase the chance of this cancer. This may be due to how the fat in the body may disrupt the balance of hormones in the body.
– Taking hormone therapy for breast cancer can increase your chances of developing the cancer.
– Having an inherited color cancer syndrome can increase the chances of having cancer, even increase the chances of women developing endometrial cancer.
Diagnosing Endometrial Cancer
When a woman goes to the doctor with the above symptoms, the doctor will have several methods for determining if the issue is endometrial cancer.
One of the most common ways to diagnose this is to perform a pelvic exam. In fact, this is one of the more common ways that this cancer is determined.
When this is performed, the doctor is going to be looking at the outside of the vagina, along with the interior of the uterus for any abnormalities that can be seen.
A transvaginal ultrasound can also be utilized in order to determine the thickness and texture of the endometrium. This can help to rule out other conditions that could be causing these symptoms. This will also help the doctor to see any abnormities in the lining as well.
In cases in which the doctor may see abnormities or may suspect there are abnormalities that are not being seen, he or she will take a sample of tissue for testing.
This is called an endometrial biopsy. With this, the doctor simply scraps off a bit of tissue. In most cases, it does not require an anesthesia and can be done in the office, allowing a woman to leave on the same day.
If the tissue cannot be removed at the office or more is needed, a surgery can be done to remove this. This surgery is referred to as a dilation and curettage (D&C).
The Stages of Endometrial Cancer
There are four stages of endometrial cancer that a woman needs to be aware of. These stages:
- Stage I: this is the initial time in which cancer is found in the uterus
- Stage II: Cancer can be found in the uterus and the cervix both
- Stage III: The cancer has spread beyond just the uterus and cervix and has reached the bladder or even the rectum
- Stage IV: The cancer has spread to other distant parts of the body
Treatment will depend upon which stage of cancer the woman has. There are several options. The most common is to have surgery to remove the uterus completely.
This will make it impossible to have children in the future, and in cases in which the ovaries are removed, it can result in putting the woman into menopause.
The other option is to utilize radiation. This allows the uterus to be saved, however, it can be quite demanding on the body.
This can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy for woman who have this in the later stages of the cancer.
For women who do have symptoms of this cancer, it is imperative that they get this checked soon. They will want to ensure that they find this as soon as possible.