Uterine Cancer also known as Endometrium Cancer or Womb Cancer is defined as the metastasis or proliferation of cancerous cells in the womb or uterus. The uterus is an upside-down pear-shaped, hollow pelvic organ which primarily helps in the growth and development of a baby. The endometrial cancer usually starts in the endometrium lining of the uterus and gradually spreads to other nearby tissues and later even to distant organs. Also Read: Fallopian Tube Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
The type of womb cancer depends upon the cells from where it originates and hence can be categorised into the following:
Since in most of the cases, the womb cancer originates in the lining of the uterus, i.e. the endometrium, this type of cancer accounts for almost up to 80% of uterine cancers.
This type is quite uncommon and usually begins in the muscles surrounding the womb and gradually spreading inwards to the uterus, such as a uterus structure and function defect seen in adenomyosis.
Just like any other type of cancer, the exact cause of uterine cancer is yet unknown. But researches state that it usually occurs when genetic mutation of DNA strands of the endometrium turns the healthy endometrial cells into abnormal ones. This causes them to divide and grow rapidly, without dying and eventually piling up to form tumorous structures. The tumorous structures can often be non-cancerous and termed as benign tumours and the ones with cancer cells are termed as malignant tumours. Also Read: Cervical Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Although, the exact reason behind uterine cancer is not known, some causative factors increase the risk of getting uterine cancer includes:
- Women above the age of 40
- Women who had early periods as a child
- Having a late menopause
- Are obese
- Diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure
- Have a history of infertility, irregular periods, or abnormal cells in the endometrium (called endometrial hyperplasia)
- Have a family history of endometrial,colorectal, or breast cancer
- Undergoing hormone therapy for breast cancer
The common signs and symptoms of uterine cancer includes:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain while urination and/or sex
- Abdominal and pelvic pains
- Enlarged uterus
- Sudden weight loss
Diagnosis And Treatment
On noticing any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, do consult a gynaecologist or specialist to get it checked right away and start the treatment at the earliest. The doctor usually does a thorough physical checkup followed by some diagnostics which include:
- Examination of the pelvis
- Imaging techniques like Ultrasound, Chest X-ray, CT-scan, or MRI-scan
- Pap test
Treatment options usually consists of:
Surgery: The generally performs surgical procedure to remove the uterus (via hysterectomy), as well as to removing the fallopian tubes and ovaries (via salpingo-oophorectomy).
Radiation therapy: Powerful energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, are used to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: A combination of two or more chemicals are used to kill the cancer cells.
Hormone therapy: Medications are used to reduce the hormone levels that facilitate the growth of cancer cells.
Targeted Drug Therapy: Medicines are used to target specific weaknesses of the cancer cells to eventually kill them.
Immunotherapy: This procedure enhances the body’s immune response to help them fight the spreading cancer.
Supportive care: Specialized medical care is provided that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms while recovering from the cancerous condition.