Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that take over neighbouring cells and tissues and, at later stages, also spread to organs. When such cells start at the endometrium (inner lining of uterus), they cause endometrial cancer.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or other discharge
- Pelvic pain and/or mass and weight loss
Every type of Cancer has risk factors, but they don’t tell us everything. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.
Factors that influence the risk of endometrial cancer include:
- Things that affect hormone levels, like taking estrogen after menopause, birth control pills, or tamoxifen; the number of menstrual cycles (over a lifetime), pregnancy, obesity, certain ovarian tumors, and polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Use of an intrauterine device
- Diet and exercise
- Family history (having close relatives with endometrial or colorectal cancer)
- Having been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer in the past
- Having been diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia in the past
- Treatment with radiation therapy to the pelvis to treat another cancer
Endometrial cancer be prevented to a certain extent by avoiding the risk factors.
Cancer has different stages, each depicted by a Roman numeral from 1 to 4 (I, II, III and IV). Stage I is the first stage where the tumor is still small while at Stage IV, the patient’s condition is said to be critical because the tumor has spread to other organs of the body. Hence, a cancer’s stage refers to the tumor’s size and extent of spread. This is the simplest form of staging.
In Endometrial cancer, the stage depends on whether it is confined to the origin of the cancer (localized cancer, Stage I) or whether it has spread to other organs (metastatic cancer).
The stage decides the kind of treatment you need to get. The greater the stage number, the more complex the treatment.
Needless to say, if the endometrial cancer is detected while it is still in Stage I, survival rate is higher. The rate decreases progressively with the increase in stage. Stage III is considered critical, while stage IV is, more often than not, fatal.
However, medicine is evolving everyday to meet these challenges and to keep you happy, healthy and alive!
Noticing any signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer, and reporting them right away to your doctor allows early diagnosis.
Based on the type and stage of the cancer and other factors, primary treatment options for women include:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormonal therapy
Treatment is based on the type of tumor and other factors, and often more than one type of treatment is used. Discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your treatment team to help make the decision that best fits your needs.
If you have any of the symptoms, please do visit the doctor.