Abnormal uterine bleeding is the most known symptom of uterine cancer

Emobileclinic Trending Topic :Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer also known as cancer of the womb is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It is the fourth most common cancer among women overall, behind breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. Fortunately, it is also one of the most curable cancers. The womb is the organ of foetal care. It is a muscular organ with a lining called the endometruim. It is this lining that is shed monthly with periods. The vagina leads upwards to the cervix, the lower part of the womb.

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Causes

Hormonal imbalance is one of the most important risks for womb cancer which may be as a result of obesity, diabetes, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Long-term use of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

Risk Factors

Hormone estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) to grow. Women with high levels of estrogen in their bodies are at increased risk of endometrial cancer. About 95% of these cancers occur in women over the age of 40.

Obesity is a strong risk factor for endometrial cancer, because fatty tissue in women produces large amounts of estrogen, and does so continuously. Overweight women are 3 to 10 times more likely than average to develop endometrial cancer, depending on how much extra weight they carry and how long they have carried it.

High fatty diet.

The number of menstrual cycles and pregnancies a woman has is a much smaller risk factor for developing endometrial cancer than the risk associated with obesity.

Oral contraceptive pills, in which the progesterone effect outweighs the small estrogen dose, even appear to offer some protection against endometrial cancer. Younger women who do not menstruate normally (unless they’re on the pill) are at higher risk of endometrial cancer.

Tamoxifen citrate used in treating breast cancer

People with a family history of this disease, and people in families with some types of inherited colon cancer or breast cancer may be at increased risk.

Symptoms and Complications

Abnormal uterine bleeding is the most known symptom of uterine cancer. Bleeding is abnormal in a premenopausal woman if it occurs at unusual times. In a postmenopausal woman, any uterine bleeding is abnormal. One-third of postmenopausal women who see their doctor about abnormal uterine bleeding have endometrial cancer.

There are usually no other symptoms or warning signs in early endometrial cancer. However, advanced uterine cancers can cause pelvic pain, weight loss, bloating and swelling of the abdomen.

Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is important but also very common, since vaginal bleeding in post-menopausal women is an early sign. The vast majority of uterine cancers are detected when a woman notices abnormal vaginal bleeding. Abnormal bleeding should never be ignored, especially in a postmenopausal woman. Any woman over the age of 40 with abnormal vaginal bleeding should consult her doctor to help decide whether further testing is needed. Taking estrogen supplements occasionally causes harmless abnormal uterine bleeding, but a doctor should always be consulted in any case.

The available diagnostic mechanisms are:

Pap Smear Test: although, the tumours are sometimes detected by the cervical Pap smear test but this screening test is hit-and-miss when it comes to endometrial cancer; it merely catches endometrial cells that have been dislodged and swept down to the cervix.

Transvaginal ultrasound and endometrial sampling that are used for diagnosis are being studied for their value as screening tests, but the results are less certain than a biopsy.

Biopsy: tissue sampling from the endometrium, called an endometrial biopsy is the most reliable and surest diagnostic procedure.

D&C (dilation of the cervix and curettage, which is scraping of the uterine lining). However, a D&C requires anaesthesia, and may be unsuitable for a woman who is very elderly or has serious medical problems.

Treatment and Prevention

Hysterectomy

Removal of the uterus is essential to treat endometrial cancer. This won’t interfere with sexual activity, but the operation leads to infertility and can’t be reversed. Only after the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries have been removed can doctors judge the extent of the cancer. If the cancer hasn’t invaded deep into the wall of the uterus (early stage) and isn’t an aggressive type (low grade), additional treatment may not be necessary.

Radiotherapy or chemotherapy is used often in conjunction with surgery.

In more widespread cancer, radiation, chemotherapy, or both may be offered instead of (or after) surgery. Women with tumours that have invaded further into the wall of the uterus or who have a higher grade cancer may require a course of pelvic radiation, chemotherapy, or both to kill the remaining cancer cells. Some women have been successfully treated using radiation alone after deciding against hysterectomy. However, most experts agree that keeping the uterus intact reduces the chances of successful treatment if there is no evidence of disease outside of the uterus at the time of diagnosis.

Pelvic radiation treatment can have unpleasant side effects, including nausea, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Another common side effect of radiation of the pelvis is narrowing of the vagina (stenosis). This may make sexual intercourse difficult or painful. This may require regular stretching of the vagina with a vaginal dilator to allow for sexual activity, which can be done at home.

Drugs and Medication

Synthetic progestins, a form of the hormone progesterone, are sometimes used to treat endometrial cancer when it is advanced or when it recurs. Synthetic progestins have only mild side effects compared to typical cancer medications; however, the chance of success when treated by chemotherapy or progestins alone is very low.

In conclusion, even if your cancer is advanced and the chances of a cure are small, treatment can still help to relieve symptoms and prolong your life.

 

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