Endometrial Cancer: An Overview
When there is uncontrollable and rapid cell growth in the lining of uterus, Endometrial cancer usually occurs. This illness is deeply associated with older women (50-90 years old) especially during the menopause stage, or the absence of monthly menses that occurs usually when a woman reach 45-50 years of age. Good news is, this is highly curable if early detected or when the cancer is still inside the uterus. 93% of women that are diagnosed with this disease are treated and protected from it for approximately 5 years.
Up until this time, there are no specified causes of this kind of cancer. However, doctors have associated Endometrial cancer with imbalance of hormone estrogen and hormone progesterone in a woman's body.
Estrogen is a hormone mainly produced by the ovaries that helps in regulating monthly menses, while progesterone is produce by placenta that is directly involved in preparing the uterus for pregnancy.
During menopausal stage, production of estrogen and progesterone in the body decreases, triggering the monthly menses to stop.
Below are the known symptoms of Endometrial Cancer.
1. Unusual vaginal discharge and/or bleeding not associated with menses. If you are having vaginal bleeding in between menses, it is highly advisable to see your OB-GYNE that can help you detect or prevent any gynecologic disorder even before it starts.
2. Pain or lump in the pelvic area – Self-examination plays a vital role in saving yourself from getting gynecologic disorder. A lump anywhere in the pelvic area or pain not associated with menstruation is the common symptoms of endometrial cancer.
3. Difficulty in urinating. This is symptom is usually connected with urinary track infection.
4. Weight loss.
There are number of Gynecologic Cancers associated with Endometrial cancer, sharing the same symptoms that should alert any woman to get immediate medical attention. These are the following:
- Uterine fibroids or the benign tumor found in the womb.
- Endometriosis, which develops on the fallopian tubes and ovaries, hinders conceiving.
- Dysfunctional uterine bleeding or having menses more often and heavier than expected or having menses when you should not. (ex. Pregnant women, children aging 10 years or below or after the menopausal stage.
- Hyperplasia or growth of endometrium.
- Cervical cancer which affects the uterine cervix.
- Cervicitis – this ranks first among the gynecologic disorder affecting half of the women's population. Common symptoms includes abdominal pain or vaginal discharge not associated with menses.
All of gynecologic disorder mentioned above have common symptoms which are abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, etc.
The problem with Endometrial Cancer and other gynecologic disorder is early detection. A woman suffering from gynecologic disorder may not notice the symptoms until the condition is serious making the treatment more difficult. Doctors advise to get regular Pap smear and seek for immediate help once you experience any of the symptoms.
There are 4 stages of endometrial cancer that starts once diagnosed.
- Stage 1: Patient diagnosed with endometrial cancer found in the uterus affecting inner and outer half of the muscle layer called myometrium.
- Stage 2: Cancer has spread out affecting both cervix and uterus and the glands that connects them.
- Stage 3: Cancer has affected the uterus, vagina, and cervix.
- Stage 4: Cancer is affecting bowel wall and bladder, including pelvis, groin and abdomen.
There are various ways of treating endometrial cancer taking the stage into consideration. These are the following:
1. Hysterectomy – Removal of cervix and uterus through an operation.
2. Bilateral salpingo – ophorectomy – Removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries through a surgery.
3. Radical Hysterectomy - Removal of fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and part of the vagina through a surgery.