Endometrial cancer is the cancer of the endometrial lining of the uterus. It is the result of the uncontrolled multiplication of cells having the ability to spread to other parts of the body.
What Is Endometrial Cancer? What Are The Symptoms And Treatments?
Endometrial cancer is also called uterine cancer. This type of cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy occurring in women suffering from post-menopausal symptoms. The incidence of endometrial cancer is increasing worldwide in recent years.
Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common malignancy occurring in older women. The mean age of this cancer is 60 years.
Some of the risk factors associated with endometrial cancer are PCOD/PCOS, obesity, hormone replacement therapy, hypertension, menopause, and a lot more. Apart from this, women with older age, those facing late menopause, and having a high intake of fried food and animal fat are at greater risk. Early menarche, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus are some other factors.
The risk factors are reduced by increased coffee consumption, oral contraceptive pills, and women with a high intake of complex carbohydrates have decreased risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Some of the major symptoms associated with endometrial cancer are abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, rapid weight gain or weight loss, abnormal and painful urination, heavy irregular menstrual periods, fatigue, weakness, pain in the lower abdomen, back pain, severe cramps, abnormal mood swings, hot flushes, or vaginal discharge having pink to brown discoloration, thick in consistency with foul swelling.
- Pelvic exam
While examining the pelvis, the doctor needs to inspect the outer portion of the genitals including the vulva. The doctor must insert his or her two fingers inside the vagina in order to feel your ovaries and uterus.
Another method is to insert a device known as a speculum into the vagina to enhance the inspection and detection of any abnormality.
- Transvaginal ultrasound
Transvaginal ultrasound is used to detect the texture and thickness of the endometrial lining of the uterus.
The procedure includes a device called a transducer which is inserted carefully inside the vagina. The sound waves generated by the transducer helps to create a video image of the uterus.
Transvaginal ultrasound enables us to detect and inspect the abnormalities present in the uterus lining.
Hysteroscopy is the procedure in which a scope is used to examine your endometrium. During the procedure, the doctor carefully inserts a thin and flexible tube called a hysteroscope inside your uterus through the vagina and cervix. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to examine the endometrial lining and the uterus.
- Endometrial biopsy
The procedure involves the removal of the tissue from the endometrial lining for laboratory examination.
- Dilation and curettage
During dilation and curettage, a small amount of tissue is scraped from the uterine lining and undergoes microscopic examination to detect the uncontrolled multiplication of cancer cells.
Staging of the endometrial cancer
Various tests used to determine the staging of cancer may include chest X-ray, Computed tomography (CT scan), Positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and hematology as well.
The surgical procedure involves the removal of the uterus along with the fallopian tube and ovaries. The procedure is called hysterectomy.
A major drawback of this procedure is that a woman cannot conceive in the future again.
In this process, chemicals are used to kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are given either orally with the help of pills or intravenously through veins. The drugs enter into the blood and travel along the body in order to kill the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is also indicated after the surgical removal of the uterus to minimize the chances of recurrence of cancer.
It can also be indicated before the hysterectomy so the chemicals used in the chemotherapy shrink the cancer cells and makes cancer more likely to be removed entirely by the surgical procedure.
- Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy includes powerful radiations like x rays to kill the cancer-causing cells.
- Hormone therapy
Certain medications are prescribed by doctors that can reduce the levels of hormones in the body. As a result, the cancer cells which rely on hormones to grow might die.
- Targeted drug therapy
The procedure targets the cancer cells and causes them to die.
Immunotherapy is the drug treatment that makes your immune system efficient enough to fight against cancer.
For endometrial cancer, this treatment might be considered if the cancer is in an advanced stage and it does not respond to other treatments.
It becomes important to keep a tab on your health as you start aging. To reduce the risk factors of developing endometrial cancer, it is necessary that you stay in touch with an experienced doctor who can guide you regarding hormone therapy after menopause. Further, maintain a healthy weight that keeps the entire body in balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once you visit the clinic, the doctor will look at your medical history, risk factors, and will review the symptoms that you are facing. This is done with the help of a pelvic exam. A transvaginal ultrasound can also be performed to be sure of its occurrence. Other modes of diagnosis include endometrial biopsy, hysteroscopy, dilation and curettage, and much more.
The need to visit an endometrial cancer specialist arises when you start experiencing symptoms like unusual vaginal bleeding or frequent pelvic pain. These are some of the basic signs of discomfort where you might not be aware of what is actually happening inside your body.
As the name suggests, this form of cancer affects the endometrium lining of the uterus. You must be screened for it if you experience symptoms like vaginal bleeding after menopause, pelvic pain, or bleeding between the periods. Further, if you have a history of endometrial cancer, it is better to get screened earlier and avoid any complications later.
Talking about endometrial cancer, it is divided into type1 and type 2. Type 1 is the most common occurrence and affects the uterus lining. This form of cancer is known to spread more quickly to other parts of the body as compared to others.
Generally, dairy products, meat, and foods rich in saturated fat should be consumed less. Alcohol consumption must be reduced along with sugar. You must take a nutrient-rich diet and ask the doctor to provide you with a diet chart. Follow it regularly to maintain your body in a healthy state.
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