By Dr Chandrashekhar Chavan
Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecologist
Published on 26/09/2022
Uterine cancer is a common cancer appearing within the female reproductive system. Cancer starts when the uterus's healthy cells change and leads to uncontrolled growth, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous (malignant) or benign, and a malignant tumor can (metastasize) grow and spread to other body parts. A benign tumor can increase in size but usually will not spread to other body parts.
Uterine cancer can be classified into two types: endometrial cancer (the most common) and uterine sarcoma.
- Endometrial cancer develops in the endometrium, the uterine lining. It is one most common type of cancer in women affecting the reproductive system .
- Uterine sarcoma develops in the myometrium, the uterine muscle wall. Uterine sarcomas are highly uncommon.
Signs And Symptoms Of Uterine Cancer
The symptoms of uterine cancer can be similar to those of other diseases. This is especially true for conditions that affect reproductive organs. Consult your gynecologist if you experience unusual pain, leaking, or bleeding. It is critical to obtain an accurate diagnosis in order to receive appropriate treatment. Endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma signs and symptoms include:
- Before menopause, vaginal bleeding between periods.
- Even a little postmenopausal vaginal bleeding or spotting.
- Your pelvis may experience lower abdominal pain or cramp directly below your belly.
- If you are postmenopausal, you may have thin, white, or clear vaginal discharge.
- If you're over 40, you may experience extremely prolonged, heavy, or frequent vaginal bleeding.
Causes Of Uterine Cancer
When there are mutations in the uterus cells it may result in uterine cancer. The mutated cells grow and multiply uncontrollably, forming a mass known as a tumor. The tumor can be benign or malignant.
Some of the risk factors can raise the chances of developing uterine cancer. If you're at high risk, talk to your doctor about what you can do to protect your health.
Who is at risk of developing uterine cancer?
Endometrial cancer is caused by a number of factors. Many of them are related to the estrogen-progesterone balance. Obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and taking unopposed estrogen are among the risk factors (taking estrogen without taking progesterone, too). People who have never been pregnant are at a higher risk of developing cancer due to increased estrogen exposure.
Another risk factor unrelated to hormones is Lynch syndrome, a genetic disorder. The following are risk factors:
- Age: As one woman gets older, the chances of developing uterine cancer rise. The majority of uterine cancers develop after the age of 50.
- Animal fat-rich diet: A high-fat diet can increase your risk of uterine cancer and other cancers. Eating fatty foods contain a lot of calories, which can lead to obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for uterine cancer.
- Family history: Some parents pass on hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer genetic mutations (changes) (HNPCC). This inherited condition increases one's risk of developing a variety of cancers, including endometrial cancer.
- Smoking: Avoid smoking and drinking excess alcohol as these habits can make you more prone to developing cancers.
- Conditions related to menstruation and reproduction:
Menstruation begins early:If you started having your period before the age of 12, the chances of developing uterine cancer are higher. This is because your uterus is exposed to estrogen for a longer period of time.
Late menopause:If menopause occurs after the age of 50, the risk increases. Your uterus is exposed to estrogen for a longer period of time.
Previous treatments for other illnesses:
- Earlier pelvic radiation therapy (between the belly and the legs): Cell DNA may be harmed by radiation therapy used to treat other cancers. Your risk of getting a second cancer type could go up as a result of this damage. Some people receive estrogen therapy to help with menopause symptoms. ERT (This is known as estrogen replacement therapy). You run a higher risk of developing uterine cancer if you receive ERT without progesterone.
- Tamoxifen use: Tamoxifen is sometimes prescribed to treat breast cancer. It can raise the risk of uterine cancer by acting like estrogen in the uterus.
Diagnosis Of Uterine Cancer
If you notice any symptoms of uterine cancer, consult your doctor. The doctor will examine the symptoms, potential risk factors, and family history. Conduct a physical test, and perform a pelvic assessment. Others tests include:
- Lab tests
- CT scans
- MRI scans
- Transvaginal ultrasound
- Other tests like an endometrial biopsy, hysteroscopy.
Many endometrial cancer patients require surgery. Your specific treatment plan is determined by the type of cancer and your overall health. You may also receive the following treatments:
- Chemotherapy: It is the use of powerful cancer drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: It involves targeted radiation beams that are used to destroy cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy: In this therapy hormones are given to treat cancer.
- Immunotherapy: It aids the immune system in its fight against cancer.
- Targeted therapy: It makes use of medications to prevent cancer cells from multiplying.
- Hysterectomy: The surgery depends on the size of cancer. The surgeon might perform a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) or a radical hysterectomy (removal of the uterus, cervix, the upper part of the vagina, and nearby tissues) can be performed by the surgeon.
Following healthy habits such as eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can all help you with uterine cancer. Any changes in menstrual health or any uncommon symptoms should be immediately reported to a gynecologist.
If you have similar symptoms then do not worry it can be treated.
Contact us for guidance and treatment. We at Medicover Hospitals, have the top Gynecologists, Oncologists and women health experts who have years of experience in treating and managing women-related diseases and conditions.