Do You Have Uterine Cancer? Be Safe. Know The Symptoms
The uterus is the pear-shaped female organ found in between the rectum and bladder. Its main purpose is to receive the ovum that is fertilized and will eventually become fetus. During pregnancy, it acts as the life support of the unborn baby until birth.
Cancer is defined as disease caused by abnormal or rapid growth of cells inside the body. In the United States, cancer of the uterus is the number one type of cancer affecting women's reproductive system, representing 6% of the total reported cases of cancer. In 1998, more than 6,000 women mostly on the menopausal stage died because of this disease.
Although, uterine cancer is deeply associated with women aging from 45-50 years of age, recorded cases show that 30% of cancer victims are younger women who are obese and diabetic.
The common symptoms of uterine cancer are shorter or longer menstrual cycle (regular cycle is from 28-31 days) or bleeding between menstrual cycle, abnormal bleeding, which includes vaginal spotting, unusual heavy menses that last all through out the menstrual period, or vaginal discharge. The patient may also experience recurring pain or lump in the pelvic area and abdominal pain. For younger women, difficulty conceiving or infertility may also be associated with uterine cancer.
There are several factors causing uterine cancer. Some are the following:
1. Diabetes – studies show that diabetic women faces higher risk of developing uterine cancer compare to non-diabetic women.
2. Age – uterine cancer usually occurs when women reached menopausal stage or when they reached the age of 45-50.
3. Family history – Research found that this disease might run in the family.
4. Colon, breast or ovarian cancer – Women who have treated or untreated cancer associated with the reproductive organ has high risk in developing uterine cancer.
5. Infertility – which is characterized as not being pregnant within 1 year of unprotected sex. This may increase the risk if the patient took or is still taking fertility drug.
6. Irregular menstrual periods – frequent menses or long interval of menstrual period prevents the ovaries from producing egg cells or ovulating. This may due to hormonal imbalance that may lead to uterine or other cancer affecting the reproductive system.
7. Polycystic ovary syndrome – or the presence of pear-necklace-like cyst around the ovaries that stops the ovaries from producing egg cells.
Like most cancer or diseases associated with the reproductive organ, the cause of uterine cancer is still unknown though it is highly associated with estrogen and progesterone hormone imbalance. Studies show that taking contraceptive pills before the menopausal stage can prevent it. Regulating the body weight and sugar level will also help. It is also important to get immediate medical attention once one or more of the symptoms are experienced. This can prevent the cancer from developing and spreading through out the reproductive system.
Women who are experiencing symptoms of uterine cancer go through pelvic exam to examine the vagina for any gynecological problem, dilation and curettage (D&C) to scrape the endometrium or the lining of the uterus and biopsy or the process or getting sample tissue from a woman's body for further examination.
Like any other cancer, the best way to combat uterine cancer is through early detection and awareness. Regular pap smear is the strongest weapon to prevent it even before it starts.