Uterine Cancer

Uterine Cancer is the most common cancer that can be detected in the female reproductive system. Uterine Cancer starts in the Uterus.  It is a malicious tumour that attacks the cells of the uterus. It can also escalate and spread to different parts of the body.

The two foremost types of uterine cancer are: Endometrial Carcinoma (this is most common, and starts from the cells in the lining of the uterus) and Uterine Sarcoma (this is rare, and develops in the supporting tissues of the uterus, muscle, fat, bone and fibrous tissue).

A third cancer can in some cases develop in the uterus. This cancer has characteristics of both Endometrial Carcinoma and Uterine Sarcoma. This cancer is called carcinosarcoma.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge
  • Abnormal Pap test results
  • Impediment and pain when urinating
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Abnormal, watery or blood-tinged discharge

Diagnosis

Uterine cancer can be detected at an early stage because of abnormal bleeding, that lead to doctor’s visits

Diagnosis are generally confirmed via:

  • Pelvic exam
  • Pap Test
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

Stages 0- IV are determined by:

  • Biopsy
  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

Biopsies can be performed in the doctor’s offices. During a biopsy a small piece of lining of the uterus is removed. This piece of lining is then looked at under a microscope.

Risk Factors

  • Changes in the balance of female hormones in the body (when the two main female hormones oestrogen and progesterone fluctuates in balance)
  • More years of menstruation (starting menstruation before the age of 12, or starting menopause older than the age of 55)
  • Never been pregnant
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Hormone therapy for breast cancer (ladies with breast cancer take hormone therapy named tamoxifen and have an increased risk of developing uterine cancer)
  • An inherited colon cancer syndrome

Treatment

Treatment may include:

  • Surgery (removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, lymph nodes and part of the vagina)
  • Radiation (external or internal)
  • Hormone Therapy (usually progesterone for woman who want to have children in the future and a hysterectomy for post-menopausal woman)
  • Chemotherapy (repeated cycles)

Treatment varies and is dependent on the stage of the cancer, age and general health.

Follow-up care is of great importance. Any complications can be detected and treated early. Possible recurrence can also be diagnosed early.