What is endometrial cancer?

endometrial lining Cancer, the most common type of uterine cancer, begins in cells of the lining of the uterus—the lining of the uterus that forms in non-pregnant menstruating women and sheds each month.

The disorder is more common after menopause. It is usually curable, and factors such as the stage and effect of hormones on the tumor can determine individual prognosis.

endometrial cancer symptoms

The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding that occurs some time or a year or more after menopause. If you have abnormal discharge or abnormal bleeding that is not related to your period, be sure to have it evaluated by your healthcare provider.

Other symptoms include pain or a watery or bloody abnormal discharge during sex. Later in the disease, you may experience pelvic pain, weight loss, and you may feel a lump in your pelvis.

reason

There are many different types of endometrial cancer, such as adenocarcinoma (the most common), squamous cell carcinoma, carcinosarcoma, small cell carcinoma, anaplastic carcinoma, clear cell carcinoma, and transitional carcinoma.

Risk factors for developing endometrial cancer include:

  • obesity
  • past menopause
  • Menstruation that started before age 12
  • never pregnant
  • high estrogen levels; changes in hormonal balance
  • Use of estrogen hormone replacement therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • diabetes
  • Personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Inherited cancer syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer or HNPCC)

Endometrial cancer occurs when normal cells mutate and multiply. As they accumulate, tumors begin to form. Abnormal cells can spread to other parts of the body.

Causes and Risk Factors of Endometrial Cancer

diagnosis

The earlier endometrial cancer is detected, the better the outcome. Endometrial cancer is often diagnosed at an early stage due to abnormal bleeding.

Your healthcare provider can find abnormalities in your uterus and cervix during a pelvic exam or a pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound. You may also have a hysteroscopy, a diagnostic test in which a flexible tube with a light is inserted into your uterus so your healthcare provider can see the internal structures.

There are two methods used to definitively diagnose endometrial cancer:

  • During an endometrial biopsy, a healthcare provider will remove some cells from the lining of the uterus so they can be examined under a microscope for abnormalities in cell shape, structure, or growth.
  • During a surgical procedure called curettage (D&C), general anesthesia is usually required, the cervix is ​​dilated and endometrial cells are extracted for microscopic examination.

If a cancer diagnosis is made, your healthcare provider may order more tests to determine if the cancer has spread outside of your uterus. These tests can include computed tomography (CT) scans, chest X-rays, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, and blood tests. The results of these tests will determine the stage of your cancer:

  • Stage 0: Also called carcinoma in situ. Cancer cells are located in the surface layer of the lining of the uterus and have not grown into other cell layers.
  • Stage I: The cancer is only in the uterus.
  • Stage II: Cancer is present in the uterus and cervix.
  • Stage III: Cancer has spread outside the uterus, possibly in the pelvic lymph nodes, fallopian tubes, and ovarian ligaments, but has not spread beyond the pelvic area.
  • Stage IV: Cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area, possibly to the bladder, rectum, or other areas.
READ ALSO:  Managing expectations about chemotherapy and sex

How Healthcare Providers Diagnose Endometrial Cancer

treat

If you are diagnosed with endometrial cancer, you and your healthcare provider will need to discuss the best treatment for you based on the stage of your cancer, your symptoms, and any other health problems you have.

Treatment includes:

  • Surgery: Your healthcare provider may recommend a hysterectomy, which is surgery to remove the uterus. If your cancer has spread, you may also need surgery to remove other organs, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, part of the vagina, or lymph nodes. Before and after surgery, you may also need chemotherapy or radiation therapy to prevent the cancer from spreading.
  • Radiation: This type of treatment involves exposing cancer cells to high-energy radiation. Radiation can be delivered externally through a machine that directs the radiation to the cancerous tissue, or through seeds, needles, or catheters placed inside in direct contact with the cancerous tissue.
  • Chemotherapy: This type of treatment involves drugs that kill cancer cells. It can be given by mouth or intravenously, and sometimes chemotherapy can be put into a body cavity to target the tumor more directly.
  • Hormone therapy: If your cancer responds to hormonal stimulation, there are medications that can help prevent the cancer from developing further. These may include drugs that increase the amount of progesterone in the body or drugs that decrease the amount of estrogen.
  • Immunotherapy: Your immune system may not attack cancer because cancer cells produce proteins that essentially blind immune system cells. Immunotherapy interferes with this process. Immunotherapy may be considered if the cancer is advanced and other treatments have not helped.

Types of treatment for endometrial cancer

prevention

You cannot prevent endometrial cancer completely, but you can reduce the risk of developing endometrial cancer by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, discussing hormone therapy with your healthcare provider, and making sure you are receiving treatment for any endometrial cancer. risk of membrane cancer problems you have (such as irregular bleeding).

Endometrial cancer usually takes years to develop, and often after smaller endometrial problems begin to appear. Be sure to see your healthcare provider if you have abnormal bleeding.

Taking birth control pills for at least a year can reduce your risk of endometrial cancer. Using a hormone-free intrauterine device (IUD) may also reduce risk, although there are no studies on the effects of hormone-releasing IUDs. Discuss the risks and benefits of using both birth control methods with your healthcare provider.

VigorTip words

The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal bleeding. This means that many cases are caught at an early stage and the overall prognosis for this cancer is good. If you have been diagnosed, it is important to be your own advocate in your care. Ask your healthcare provider lots of questions. Consider getting a second opinion. Take time to relax and unwind. Seek help from family and friends if needed. Educate yourself and your loved ones about what to expect. Most importantly, take one day at a time.

#1 symptom of endometrial cancer