Uterine Cancer

Uterine Cancer Awareness Month & Ribbon
Month September  
Ribbon Peach Color

The normal process of cell division and formation of new cells does not occur if uterine cancer is there. Instead, new cells are created when you do not require them and old cells do not die when they should. The buildup of unnecessary cells in the uterus forms a tumor either in the inner lining or outer muscular lining. Cancer in the inner lining is called endometrium and that in the muscular lining is called sarcomas. Endometrial cancer is most common cancer of the uterus whereas sarcomas are quite rare but these cancer cells are more violent and spread faster. Uterine cancer is mostly seen in postmenopausal women.

Signs and Symptoms

Uterine cancer shows its signs and symptoms at an early stage. Hence, visit your doctor immediately if you are experiencing following symptoms:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pain in pelvic area
  • Pain during intercourse

Treatment of Uterine Cancer

Depending on the type and stage of the uterine cancer, the doctor suggests various treatment options such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. Medical condition of the patient also matters a lot in deciding the method of treatment. If required, the patient may receive more than one type of treatment.

Causes

You can prevent uterine cancer from occurring to some extent if you know its causes. The following are some important risk factors that cause uterine cancer in women:

  • High levels of estrogen
  • Obesity
  • Advanced age (mostly after 40)
  • Not having children of own
  • Tamoxifen citrate, a common medicine taken to prevent reoccurrence of breast cancer
  • Family history of uterine cancer
  • Inherited colon cancer or breast cancer also increases risk of uterine cancer

Tests and Procedures

After listening from you about the signs and symptoms, your doctor may conduct physical examination and blood test. If he gets any positive result for uterine cancer he may suggest you for following tests:

Pelvic examination: The doctor checks your uterus, vagina, and nearby tissues for lumps or unusual changes in size or shape.

Endometrial biopsy: The doctor inserts a very thin tube into the uterus through cervix and using suction, a small amount of affected tissue is removed. To reduce the pain during this process you may be given anti-inflammatory medicine or local anesthesia is injected into the cervix. The sample is then checked under microscope for signs of cancer.

Hysteroscopy: A tiny telescope with a diameter of approximately 1/6 inch in inserted into the uterus through cervix. The doctor can get a clear view of affected area inside the uterus. This is done when the patient is awake. Local anesthesia may be given to reduce pain.

Dilation and curettage (D&C): In this outpatient method, the opening of the cervix is dilated or widened and a special apparatus is used to scratch tissue from the uterus. Local anesthesia is injected into the cervix before starting this procedure.

Transvaginal ultrasound: To get a better picture of inside area of the uterus, a device is inserted into the vagina. The device takes pictures of suspected area using sound waves.

If the doctor suspect that the cancer has been spread to other organs, some other imaging tests such as x-ray, CT scan, MRI scan are also suggested before starting the treatment.

Treatment Cost

You may have to spend approximately $13,000 for treatment of uterine cancer. This amount includes the patient’s stay, doctor fee, food, medicine, treatment, nursing and follow-up care. However, the treatment cost of uterine cancer is different in different countries and it also depends on the health care system adopted by you.

Preventive Measures

You can prevent uterine cancer from occurring by practicing following routine:

  • Increase physical activities
  • Have healthy diet that contain a lot of fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce exposure to estrogen
  • Consult with doctor for advance screening of uterine cancer if you are taking Tamoxifen citrate to prevent reoccurrence of breast cancer
  • Seek advice from your doctor if you are at increased risk of uterine cancer because of family history, advanced age or any other reason

Side Effects

You may feel certain side effects after treatment of uterine cancer. The side effects are different for different treatment options. Some measure side effects are listed below:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in skin
  • Mouth sores
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble urinating
  • Itching, and burning in the vagina
  • Change in appetite
  • Changes in menstrual periods (in case of premenopausal women)
  • Low resistance for infections
  • Bruise or bleed easily

However, these side effects do not last long and can be easily handled with doctor’s advice and medication.

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