Cancer that develops in the cells of the uterus is called uterine cancer. The uterus is a hollow pear structure where fetal growth takes place. Most of the cancer in the uterus occurs in the lining of the uterus called endometrium. Another form of cancer is uterine sarcomas, which arises in myometrium muscle tissues.
What are the signs of Uterine cancer?
- Lower abdominal pain and pressure
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding episodes between periods
- Weight loss
- Virginal bleeding after menopause
- Decrease appetite
- Abdominal bloating
- Lower back pain
However, above mentioned signs and symptoms may be due to another medical condition please get a checkup with your physician.
What are the causes /Risk factors of Uterine Cancer?
The exact cause of uterine cancer is unknown but the following may be some associated risk factors.
Family history of gynecological cancers, ovarian cancer, or breast or bowel cancer.
Late menopausal women at high risk: Having menopause at the age of 50 are at increased risk of developing uterine cancer. As more will be menstruation time more exposure to estrogen in the body.
A female who has never become pregnant?
The female received hormonal therapy for infertility
Having a history of polycystic ovary syndrome.
Early start of periods i.e. before the age of 12.
Obesity: Some studies suggest that more fats in the body trigger estrogen levels, which may lead to uterine cancer.
Breast cancer Treatment: Women who have received treatment for breast cancer can have uterine cancer.
Women with Diabetes: Women with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of developing uterine cancer.
How to diagnose uterine cancer?
Following tests help and confirm uterine cancer.
Physical examination and medical history:
Your gynecologist will examine the pelvic area carefully and will do an internal examination. Your physician will take a complete gynecological history. This may include your number of pregnancies, contraceptive methods, age of start of periods, vaginal or pelvic infections, history of previous cancers and treatment received, age of menopause, and family history of cancer.
Ultrasound is carried out to see the structures and changes in the pelvic cavity
Transvaginal ultrasound examines internal organs, such as the cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Uterine Tissue Biopsy: A small piece of the affected area in the uterus is taken to confirm the disease. Moreover, this indicates the type of cancer.
CA-125 assay: As it is a cancer marker. A high level of it in the blood indicates the presence of cancer in the body.
Magnetic Resonance Image: MRI detects/finds the spread of cancer in other parts of the body.
Computed Tomography: This test detects cancer elsewhere in the body and may be helpful in the staging of cancer.
What is the treatment for uterine cancer?
Surgery (Removal of the whole uterus with associated organs): If cancer is localized to the uterus then removal of the uterus with associated organs (cervix, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes is carried out. This is known as total Hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy.
Chemotherapy: After surgery cytotoxic drugs called chemotherapy are given to kill cancer cells. Furthermore, These drugs are given before surgery to shrink the tumor size.
Radiation Therapy: However, Radiation therapy kills the remaining cancer cells in the pelvic cavity. Radiation therapy could be external radiation (rays given from outside the body with the help of a machine) or it may be internal radiation (placing a radioactive implant or capsule in the vagina or cervix)
Hormonal Therapy: Furthermore, some medications are given to lower the hormone level which plays a role in the development of cancer lowering the hormonal levels may cause the cancer cells to die.
Targeted Therapy: Moreover, medications are given with chemotherapy to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Similarly, Medications used in this therapy have less danger to normal cells. However, it mainly targets cancer cells.
Palliative treatment: Another treatment is palliative treatment, in which medications are given to just manage the symptoms and its aim is to provide comfort to the patient. However, Palliative treatment is given when cancer is spread to other parts of the body.
Can we prevent uterine cancer?
Furthermore, Uterine cancer can be prevented by reducing the risk factors as follows
- Maintaining a healthy weight with proper diet and exercise
- Maintain blood sugars in the normal range in case of diabetes.
- Have proper checkups for pelvic diseases or problems.
- Must compare the risks and benefits of hormonal therapy before starting.
It is important to note that uterine cancer can be prevented through regular checkups, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding hormonal medications. It is also crucial to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of uterine cancer in order to detect it early and manage it in a timely manner.