Endometrial cancer arises from the lining of the uterus, also known as endometrium. It is the most common type of uterine cancer and is the most common gynecological cancer with 1900 Australian women diagnosed each year.
Endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed at early stages. This is due to frequent uterine bleeding that prompts women to see their doctor. Most women are cured early by having their uterus surgically removed, but if diagnosis is delayed, chances of complete recovery reduce.
What causes endometrial cancer?
Some of the known risk factors of endometrial cancer are:
– Being overweight or obese.
– History of endometrial hyperplasia (endometrium is thick)
– Family history of colon cancer or endometrial cancer itself
– Hormone replacement therapy (estrogen only)
– No childbirth
– History of polycystic ovarian syndrome
– Age greater than 50 years
Signs and symptoms:
– Bleeding after menopause
– Heavy periods than usual and bleeding between periods
– Discharge from vagina which seems unusual i.e. watery, smelly or bloody
– Pain in abdomen or pelvis
If you have symptoms that might be linked to endometrial cancer, a doctor may do the following:
– Blood tests
– Take complete history including family history
– Pelvic examination
– Ultrasound of uterus via vagina or abdomen
– Endometrial biopsy. This is done to get few cells of endometrium and they are observed under microscope. This can be done without anesthesia or with anesthesia depending upon the quantity of cells required.
This depends upon the size of cancer, rate of growth, age, health and history. The treatment options include:
– Surgery: Done to remove your uterus and cervix (known as a total hysterectomy), fallopian tubes (a salpingectomy) and usually ovaries (an oophorectomy).
– Radiotherapy: This is usually done after surgery, done to control or kill cancer completely.
– Consider birth control pills.
– Maintain a healthy weight.
– Exercise five days a week.
– Talk to your doctor before starting any hormone replacement therapy.
You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 1300 464 464.
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.