Uterine cancer is a disease that affects the a uterus, one of the main organs in a woman’s reproductive system. The causes for uterine cancer are not known;however, there are risk factors as well as methods that may lower the chances of developing it. Uterine cancer symptoms will vary for each woman and any symptoms should be checked immediately by a physician.
Risk Factors for Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer has a higher prevalence in women who:
- Are post-menopausal (usually over 50) though younger women can develop it, the chances are significantly less
- Take the hormone estrogen without also taking progesterone another female hormone, , for birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
- Are from families that have a history with cancer (breast, uterine, ovarian or colon cancer are at greatest risk)
- Had issues conceiving a child (getting pregnant)
- Had fewer than five periods in a year before starting menopause
- Have a lot of extra body fat
- Have never being pregnant
- Sarterd regular menustration before age 12 and did not reach menopause until age 50 or more
- Are diabetic
- Use Tamoxifen, (a breast cancer treatment drug)
Uterine cancer prevention
There is no known way to prevent uterine cancer. There are, however, measures that can be taken that can help to reduce the likelihood of getting the disease. This includes the use of birth control pills and keeping a healthy body weight by being active.
There are no tests that can detect uterine if women are not symptomatic. Pap smears (pap tests) do not screen for uterine cancer, so women who have any of the known risk factors should be aware of and be on the lookout for uterine cancer symptoms.
Symptoms of uterine cancer:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Watery vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Persons who experience any of these uterine cancer symptoms should see a physical immediately. An endometrial biopsy will usually be performed where a small piece of the endometrium is removed to screen for cancerous cells. This procedure can be done by a gynecologist and does not take long to perform.
If results show that cancerous cells are present, the stage or severity of the cancer is determined by seeing how much the cancer has spread. A treatment regimes is then decided by the physician in consultation with the patient.
Treating Uterine Cancer
Surgery is the most common treatment for uterine cancer. Depending on the stage of the cancer, one of the following treatment methods will be done:
- hysterectomy – removal of the uterus
- hysterectomy with removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries
- lymph node dissection – removal of pelvic lymph nodes during hytsterectomy to later be screened for cancer
Other treatment options include radiation therapy which uses radiation to shrink tumors or completely eliminate cancer cells. Radiation therapy damages the DNA of cancer cells and makes it unable to spread.
Uterince cancer is treatable, therefore, it is important that women who are at risk be aware of any of the symptoms and be examined regulary by a physician.