Dr. Poonam Maurya, Consultant Medical Oncologist At Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore
Uterine cancer, also known as a “silent disease”, has various forms that can’t be seen in the early stages but are only discovered later, while others act combatively in the body and must be treated early.
The medical condition originates from the growth of abnormal cells in the body which can’t be controlled after a certain time span. Normally cells divide, grow, and die, but cancer cells outlive and form new abnormal cells.
Uterine cancer can be classified into two types: Endometrial Cancer is the one that causes abnormal vaginal bleeding whereas Uterine Sarcoma is the one that is developed in the supporting tissues of the uterine glands.
- Bleeding after menopause – Women who have attained menopause and still experience abnormal vaginal bleeding may reach out to a doctor to check out the irregularity of periods even after menopause.
- A mass (lump or growth) in the vagina – A lump on the lining of the vagina can be a sign of cancer. It can also be related to vaginal cysts or swelling inside the vagina due to muscle injuries or a result of performing intense exercises.
- Pain in the abdomen – Extreme pain in the abdominal or belly region, gradual weight loss, and poor appetite may link to uterine cancer.
- Having to urinate often – The sudden arousal of peeing at nights even when the bladder is not completely full, and a burning sensation while urinating can be some clear signs.
All the above-mentioned symptoms should not be ignored. It is always advisable to check with a medical expert if any unpleasant symptoms are noticed. Under expert guidance, uterine cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
The factors mentioned below may elevate the risk of uterine cancer:
- Age – After a certain age, the body may lose its control over cell regeneration and lose its immunity to fight the abnormal growth of cells. Therefore, uterine cancer mostly occurs in women above the age of 50.
- Obesity – Estrogen, a sex hormone can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. The risk might grow with a woman’s body mass index (BMI) as the overproduction of estrogen thickens the tissues in the uterine lining, creating more fatty tissues in obese women.
- Genetics – Women whose family has a genetic history of colon cancer are at a greater risk. This condition is called Lynch syndrome.
- Diabetes – Physical inactivity is a cause of diabetes. Research conducted by National Center For Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has shown that diabetic women have twice the risk of developing uterine cancer as compared to healthy non-diabetic women.
- Menstrual cycle – Women whose menstrual cycle has started before the age of 12 and who go through menopause after the age of 50 are at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
Endometrial or Uterine cancer can be treated right if detected at an early stage. Visiting a gynaecologist for an annual checkup and maintaining a body mass index of less than 25 would be helpful. There are various kinds of advanced surgical procedures that can treat the medical condition like brachytherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy. It is always advisable to consult with a medical expert and receive the treatment at the right time to avoid any further health concerns.