Everything You Need to Know About Uterine Cancer

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Abnormal production of cells in the uterus causes uterine cancer. The growth of such cells becomes abnormal and causes severe health problems. Uterine cancer is distinguished into two types, endometrial cancer, and uterine sarcomas. Endometrial cancer occurs in the lining or outer layer of the uterus whereas uterine sarcomas occur in the tissues of your muscles, and it is a rare type of cancer. About 95% of uterine cancer cases are endometrial type, and most of the time when doctors and experts refer to uterine cancer, they mean endometrial cancer. 

Symptoms of Uterine Cancer 

Unusual vaginal bleeding after menopause is the most common symptom of uterine cancer. However, other symptoms include: 

  • Abnormal menstrual periods, such as excessively heavy or light spotting 
  • Sudden change in periods cycle 
  • Vaginal bleeding in between periods cycle
  • Elongated periods that do not stop 

Some fewer common symptoms of uterine cancer include: 

  • Unpleasant smelling watery discharge 
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss 
  • Difficulty in urinating 
  • Change in bowel discharge routine 
  • Abdominal cramps 

People often get confused as they could experience these symptoms without having uterine cancer. Therefore, it is always better to check with your doctor to confirm any health issues timely. 

Causes of Uterine Cancer 

Several factors and causes can significantly increase the risk of uterine cancer. These include: 

  • Reaching the stage of menopause 
  • Endometrial hyperplasia 
  • Never having children 
  • Getting menses earlier, such as at age 12
  • Health problems, like high blood pressure and diabetes 
  • Obesity 
  • Genetical history of ovarian, uterine, or bowel cancer 
  • Genetic conditions, like Cowden syndrome or Lynch syndrome 
  • History of ovarian tumors or polycystic ovaries syndrome 
  • Fertility treatments or hormone replacement therapy 
  • History of radiation therapy on the pelvis 
  • History of breast cancer 

How Uterine Cancer is Diagnosed?

Uterine cancer is diagnosed through multiple tests. These tests include: 

Physical Examination 

In a physical examination, your doctor will check your abdomen area for swelling. For uterus examination, your physician may place a two-finger or an instrument called a speculum to separate the walls of your vagina. They will press the abdomen while inserting into the vagina to check for swelling or any other abnormality. 

Pelvic Ultrasound 

A pelvic ultrasound uses sound waves to take a picture of your vaginal interior, uterus, and ovaries. These soundwaves will echo when they hit a hard surface, such as a tumor. Pelvic ultrasound is often done in two ways and both can be done in one sitting. If the doctor detects anything unusual, they will further move to biopsy. The two types of pelvic ultrasound are: 

Abdominal Ultrasound 

It is a typical ultrasound that requires a full bladder so you need to drink a lot of water before getting it done. The sonographer will move an ultrasound device on your abdomen to get a better picture of what is happening inside you. 

Transvaginal Ultrasound 

This type of ultrasound does not require a full bladder. In this, the sonographer will place a transducer wand inside your vagina, which can make it uncomfortable but it should never be painful. You should talk to your doctor if you would get uncomfortable or embarrassed due to this ultrasound. They will find ways to calm you when you get it. 

Endometrial Biopsy 

It is done in the doctor’s office. A long and thin tube is inserted inside your vagina to suck some uterine lining cells. These cells are then sent to a pathologist who examines them to check for any abnormality. Your doctor may suggest some painkillers before this exam as they can induce cramps and pain for some people. 

Hysteroscopy and Biopsy 

Hysteroscope is a device that lets your doctor see inside your uterus for better understanding and examination and abnormality. Often, doctors obtain tissues from this procedure to send for further testing. 

Blood and Urine Tests 

Blood and urine are collected to test for any cell abnormality to fully know whether the person has uterine cancer or some other health problems. 

Treatment for Uterine Cancer 

Mostly, surgery is the only option when uterine cancer is diagnosed. The doctor removes the entire uterus to destroy any chances of cancer. However, it is a very drastic procedure and other treatment options are explored before opting for this one. Other treatment options include: 

Uterus Removal Surgery 

It is the most common treatment for curing uterine cancer. The uterus and cervix are surgically removed to end the problem from its root cause. The procedure is called a total hysterectomy. However, if the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed along with the uterus and cervix, it is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. 

This surgery can be performed through a cut in the abdomen or through the keyhole surgery technique. It depends on the patient and their condition. Moreover, the surgeon may also remove excess tissues during surgery if cancer has spread and threats other organs. 

Radiation Therapy 

Radiation therapy uses x=rays to impair or kill harmful cancer cells. It is recommended as the first option if you are not a good candidate for surgery. This therapy is given externally through a machine and it can affect your fertility by causing instant menopause. Therefore, you should discuss all your concerns with your doctor before opting for this treatment. 

Hormone Therapy 

This therapy usually opts for when cancer has spread or if it has recurred. It is also used when surgery is not an option for the candidate. Progesterone is the main hormone given as a hormone either in the form of pills or injections. 

Chemotherapy 

It is used for certain types of cancer only or when cancer recurs after radiation therapy or surgery. It also opts when the cancer is not responding to the current treatment well. It is helpful in relieving some cancer symptoms and it is given in the form of a drug through the vein. Your doctor will tell you the detail and how they will last for you as it varies from person to person. 

This is an overview of uterine cancer and what factors drive it. It is always better to consult professionals for guidance. Book your appointment with the best Gynecologist in Karachi through Marham for more information. 

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