Endometrial cancer is cancer that arises from the endometrium. It is the result of the abnormal growth of cells that spreads to the other parts of the body. It begins in the uterus. The uterus is the hollow, pear – shaped pelvic organ in women where fetal development occurs.
Endometrial cancer begins in the layer of cells that from the lining of the uterus. Endometrial cancer is also known as uterine cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer:
Symptoms of endometrial cancer are as follows:
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Bleeding without periods
- An abnormal, watery or blood- tinged discharge from your vagina
- Pelvic pain
- Difficult or painful urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Unexpected and rapid weight loss
- Weakness and pain in lower abdomen, back and legs.
Causes of Endometrial Cancer:
Following are some of the main causes of Endometrial Cancer:
- Changes in the balance of female hormones in the body.
- More years of menstruation. If the menstruation occurs are the beginning of the 12 years. The more periods the patient has the more exposure the endometrium has to estrogen.
- As the patient gets older the risk of getting endometrial cancer increases.
- Obesity is the main cause of any diseases. As the obesity increases the risk of getting endometrial cancer increases.
- Women with breast cancer who take the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen have an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer.
- Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is a syndrome that increases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers, including endometrial cancer.
Diagnosis of Endometrial Cancer:
- Pelvic Examination: During a pelvic exam, doctor carefully inspects the outer portion of your genitals (vulva), and then inserts two fingers of one hand into your vagina and simultaneously presses the other hand on your abdomen to feel your uterus and ovaries. He or she also inserts a device called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum opens your vagina so that your doctor can view your vagina and cervix for abnormalities.
- Ultrasound Examination: transvaginal ultrasound technique is used to look at the thickness and texture of the endometrium and help rule out other conditions. In this procedure, a wandlike device (transducer) is inserted into your vagina. The transducer uses sound waves to create a video image of your uterus.
- Removing of sample of tissue for testing: To get a sample of cells from inside your uterus, you’ll likely undergo an endometrial biopsy. This involves removing tissue from your uterine lining for laboratory analysis. Endometrial biopsy may be done in your doctor’s office and usually doesn’t require anesthesia.
Treatment of Endometrial Cancer:
Surgery: Surgery to remove the uterus is recommended for most women with endometrial cancer. Most women with endometrial cancer undergo a procedure to remove the uterus (hysterectomy), as well as to remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries (salpingo-oophorectomy). A hysterectomy makes it impossible for you to have children in the future.
Radiation: Radiation therapy uses powerful energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. In some conditions, doctor may recommend radiation to reduce your risk of a cancer recurrence after surgery. In certain situations, radiation therapy may also be recommended before surgery, to shrink a tumor and make it easier to remove.
Radiation therapy can involve:
- Radiation from a machine outside your body.During external beam radiation, you lie on a table while a machine directs radiation to specific points on your body.
- Radiation placed inside your body.Internal radiation (brachytherapy) involves placing a radiation-filled device, such as small seeds, wires or a cylinder, inside your vagina for a short period of time.
Hormone therapy involves taking medications that affect hormone levels in the body. Hormone therapy may be an option if you have advanced endometrial cancer that has spread beyond the uterus.
- Medications to increase the amount of progesterone in your body.Synthetic progestin, a form of the hormone progesterone, may help stop endometrial cancer cells from growing.
- Medications to reduce the amount of estrogen in your body.Hormone therapy drugs can help lower the levels of estrogen in your body or make it difficult for your body to use the available estrogen. Endometrial cancer cells that rely on estrogen to help them grow may die in response to these medications.
Chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Patient receives chemotherapy drug, or two or more drugs can be used in combination. You may receive chemotherapy drugs by pill or through your veins. Chemotherapy may be recommended for women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer that has spread beyond the uterus. These drugs enter your bloodstream and then travel through your body, killing cancer cells.