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Know All About Endometrial Cancer

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Know All About Endometrial Cancer

Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Posted on 12/26/2022 by Dr. Tripti Dadhich



Overview

Endometrial cancer is one of the common reproductive conditions and gynecologic cancer which originates in the female reproductive system. It occurs in the uterus, or womb, which is a hollow organ placed in the lower abdomen. The uterus wall consists of an inner lining known as the endometrium and an outer layer of muscle tissue referred to as the myometrium.

Endometrial cancer also known as uterine cancer is identified to be the most common condition between the ages of 60 and 70. There are other cells in the uterus that can transform into cancer such as muscle or myometrium cells.

Usually, women having endometrial cancer aren’t aware of it as sometimes they don’t experience any symptoms. This is why doctors recommend females visit a gynecologist once a year. Since it is a common condition among women, it is crucial that they comprehend everything related to it. In this write-up, we will cover comprehensive information on endometrial cancer so make sure to stick to the end. 

Understanding endometrial cancer in detail

Endometrial cancer is a type of carcinoma that appears in the reproductive organs of a female. As per studies, it is the fourth most commonly occurring cancer after other cancer types, such as lung cancer and colorectal cancer. The condition is treatable and the rate of survival is more than 75%.

If you can identify this disease earlier, the survival rate is much greater. This condition is called endometrial cancer because it develops in the endometrium which is in the inner part of the uterus.

If you want to avert the disease or want to suspect it earlier, you must be mindful of the symptoms of this disease. Unfortunately, most of the time, there are no symptoms of uterine cancer or the symptoms are mild and hard to notice. If there are symptoms, it always appears when it has already reached an advanced stage. However, the symptoms vary from woman to woman and depend on the health conditions of a woman.

What are the symptoms of endometrial cancer?

The most common endometrial cancer symptoms you should know are:

  • Whitish and watery vaginal discharge
  • Painful and difficult urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Painful pelvic region
  • Unusual growth in the pelvic area
  • Considerable loss of weight
  • Vaginal bleeding during periods

What are the types of endometrial cancer?

The types of endometrial cancer have been grouped into four categories which are p53 mutation, POLE mutation, copy number high, and copy number low. Medical trials are in process for assessing the right treatment for each group which also include immunotherapy trials.

What causes endometrial cancer?

Researchers and healthcare experts aren’t certain of the right endometrial cancer causes. All they know is that there is something that causes changes in the DNA cells in the endometrium. According to experts, there are certain risk factors that contribute to an increase in the risk of endometrial cancer. Here are these risk factors:

  • An individual suffering from conditions like diabetes, endometrial hyperplasia, hereditary form of colorectal cancer, and hypertension
  • Uterine cancer is identified to be more prevalent among Caucasians
  • Being over 50 years old
  • Never breast-feeding a child
  • Never being pregnant
  • A menstrual cycle started before 12 years old
  • Menopause starts after turning 55 years old
  • Tamoxifen uses
  • The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Exposure to estrogen

How is endometrial cancer diagnosed?

The doctor will initiate endometrial cancer diagnosis in the following steps:

  • The doctor performs a pelvic exam to check the vagina, uterus, ovaries, bladder, and rectum for endometrial cancer. The doctor feels these organs and looks for lumps or variations in their shape or size. An instrument called a speculum is used to broaden the vagina so that doctors can see the upper portion of the vagina and the cervix.
  • The Pap test is frequently performed during a pelvic exam for endometrial cancer. The doctor involves using a wooden spatula or small brush to collect cell samples from the cervix and upper vagina. The cells are then sent to a clinical laboratory to be checked for irregular fluctuations. Because uterine cancer begins inside the uterus, it may not show up on a Pap test, which examines cells from the cervix.
  • A biopsy is also required to assist the doctor to start with endometrial diagnosis. In a biopsy, the doctor takes out the tissue sample from the uterine lining. In some cases, a female may need dilation and curettage (D&C), which is usually same-day surgery done in a hospital with anesthesia. During D&C, the opening of the cervix is broadened and the doctor scrapes tissue from the uterus lining. A pathologist inspects the tissue to check for cancer cells, hyperplasia, or other conditions. After D&C, women may have cramps and vaginal bleeding during healing.

How to cure endometrial cancer?

Usually, females with endometrial cancer require surgery. The endometrial cancer treatment plan entirely depends on the cancer type and the entire health of a female.

Here are the treatment options to cure the condition:

  • Chemotherapy: The doctor will recommend using strong drugs for destroying cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment option involves sending targeted radiation beams to put an end to cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy: It is useful in restricting the hormones to treat cancer.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment option helps the immune system to fight cancer.
  • Targeted therapy: The doctor will prescribe medications to target particular cancer cells so that they don’t get multiplied.

Additionally, the doctor will recommend making certain lifestyle changes as well to the person experiencing this condition. It will also help in improving the condition drastically.

Can endometrial cancer be prevented?

Preventing endometrial cancer usually is not possible, but you can involve some steps to alleviate the risk such as:

  • Ensure that your diabetes is in control
  • Maintain a healthy weight as per your BMI
  • Get in touch with a healthcare expert before using any oral contraceptives. These medications are helpful to protect against this condition.

Final thoughts

If you observe early signs of endometrial cancer, or you notice a change in your body, make sure to consult your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will find out if there is anything wrong or not, it will help you to put your mind at ease. And if you have endometrial cancer or any other reproductive condition, then you can start receiving treatment on time. You must make sure to follow the medications or any lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor. Uterine cancer these days has become one of the common conditions, but with the right treatment on time, it can be treated.

FAQs  

Are uterine cancer and endometrial cancer different?

Endometrial cancer is also known as uterine cancer and there is no difference as it occurs in the uterus.

Can a pap smear test detect endometrial cancer?

No, a pap smear is not useful for detecting endometrial cancer. If you suspect that you might have this condition, you must consult your gynaecologist