Cancer of the uterus is called endometrial cancer. During pregnancy, the uterus forms a hollow, pear-shaped organ in the pelvis that guides the development of a fetus.
The layer of cells that form the inner lining of the uterus is the site where endometrial cancer starts. It is also known as uterine cancer. The uterus can also develop cancers such as uterine sarcoma, but they are less common than endometrial cancers.
The early detection of endometrial cancer is usually attributed to abnormal vaginal bleeding caused by the disease. A uterus cancer can be removed surgically if endometrial cancer is discovered early.
NCI Trusted Source reports say that approximately 3 in 100 women will be diagnosed with uterine cancer during their lifetime. Uterine cancer patients survive for more than 80 percent of their lives after being diagnosed.
A timely diagnosis and treatment of endometrial cancer will improve your chances of remission.
Cancer of the uterus can display similar symptoms to several other conditions. This is especially true when it comes to diseases affecting the reproductive system. Consult your healthcare provider if you experience unusual pain, leaking, or bleeding. The most effective treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis.
The few common symptoms of endometrial cancer include:
The exact cause of endometrial cancer is usually unknown. There are some risk factors associated with this cancer, like obesity and hormonal imbalances. However, experts believe that hormones such as estrogen and progesterone play a major role.
These sex hormone levels affect your endometrium when they fluctuate. The shift in estrogen balance causes the endometrial cells to divide and multiply.
It is possible for endometrial cells to become cancerous if certain genetic changes occur. As a result, a tumor develops quickly. Scientists are still investigating the changes that lead to cancerous endometrial cells.
Many factors increase your chances of getting ill, including cancer. For example, smoking and sun exposure are risk factors that can be changed. Some things cannot be changed, such as a person's age or family history.
Endometrial cancer isn't always caused by certain factors, but it can increase a woman's risk. Most women who have risk factors won't develop the disease.
The cause of endometrial cancer is unknown for some women. There's no way to know which risk factor caused a woman's endometrial cancer, even if she has one or more risk factors.
The risk factors of endometrial cancer include:
These may include diabetes, obesity, and polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes irregular ovulation patterns. Endometrial cancer is increased by the use of estrogen-containing but not progesterone-containing hormones after menopause.
There is a gene mutation that causes Lynch syndrome that is transmitted from parent to child. Discuss your risk of Lynch syndrome with your doctor if a family member has been diagnosed. Your doctor can recommend cancer screening tests for you if you are diagnosed with Lynch syndrome.
Different types of cancer are caused by different factors. Researchers are still looking into what causes uterine cancer and how to prevent it. Although there is no proven way to prevent uterine cancer entirely, you may be able to reduce your risk. Speak with your health care team to learn more about your cancer risk.
The prevention tips that you can take to prevent endometrial cancer are:
Doctors may recommend a physical and pelvic examination for women who are experiencing symptoms of endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer detection tests are divided into two categories: ultrasound and endometrial tissue sampling.
Surgery is usually the only treatment needed for most women with uterine cancer, particularly if it is detected early and has not spread to other parts of the body.
Surgically removing the uterus and cervix is the most common method of treating uterine cancer. It is called a hysterectomy. During a salpingo-oophorectomy, both ovaries and the fallopian tubes are removed as well.
Removing the ovaries is often done to reduce the chance that cancer will return. This is because the ovaries produce estrogen, a hormone that may spur cancer to spread.
Laparotomy or laparoscopic surgery can be performed by cutting into the abdomen or by using a keyhole. A general anesthetic will be administered. Your surgeon can remove additional tissue during this procedure if cancer has spread, or if you have lymph nodes in your pelvis.
It is common to use radiation therapy as an additional treatment to reduce the chances of cancer returning. Radiation therapy involves using x-rays to kill or injure cancer cells. If surgery cannot be performed, this treatment may be recommended.
Radiation therapy may be given either externally, by directing a machine's beam of radiation at cancer and surrounding tissue, or internally, by placing thin tubes of radioactive material inside the body near cancer.
In most cases, hormone therapy is utilized when cancer has spread or when it has returned (recurred). When surgery is not an option, hormone therapy may also be utilized.
A woman with uterine cancer is usually treated with progesterone, which can be taken in tablet form or administered by injection by her doctor or nurse. Progesterone can reduce the size of some tumors and help control symptoms.
Some types of uterine cancer can be treated with chemotherapy. This can be used when cancer returns after surgery or radiotherapy, or if it does not respond to hormone therapy.
Symptoms can be controlled with chemotherapy as well as pain relief. Drugs are usually injected intravenously (through a vein). You can ask your doctor what chemotherapy will consist of and how long it will last.