UTERINE CANCER (ENDOMETRIAL CANCER)
Uterine cancer is a malignant tumor in uterine lining (endometrial cancer). Uterine cancer symptoms include bleedings and pain. Uterine cancer treatment should have a complex approach and usually it depends on multiple factors. Below we are going to discuss in detail uterine cancer symptoms and types, as well as treatment options available for this condition.
This is a type of cancer that begins in the in the layer of cells that form the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. It is also known as uterine cancer, it is also the most common cancer that occurs in the uterus.
Endometrial cancer is often detected at an early stage due to abnormal bleeding that occurs prompting women to see the doctor.
UTERINE CANCER SYMPTOMS
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer include:
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause.
- Bleeding between periods.
- Abnormal watery or blood-tinged vaginal discharge.
- Pelvic pain.
- Pain or difficulty when emptying the bladder.
- Pain during sex.
UTERINE CANCER TREATMENT OPTIONS
Surgical removal of the uterus is a recommended treatment method of endometrial cancer. For the treatment of this cancer, a surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) as well as the fallopian tubes and ovaries is needed. This procedure makes pregnancy impossible.
This procedure makes use of powerful energy beams like x-rays and protons in killing the cancer cells. Doctors may recommend this therapy to reduce the risk of a recurrence of cancer after surgery. It may also be used before surgery so as to reduce the size of the tumour. It can also be used as an alternative to surgery in cases where the patient is not strong enough.
Radiation therapy can involve:
- Radiation from a machine outside the body: This is an external beam radiation where radiation from a machine to specific points on the body.
- Radiation placed inside the body: This is called brachytherapy. This procedure involves the placement of a radiation filled device such as small seeds, wires or a cylinder into the vagina.
This involves the use of medications which affect the levels of hormone in the body. This treatment method may be an option where there is case of advanced endometrial cancer. Options include:
- Improving progesterone level medications: Synthetic progestin may help to stop the progression of endometrial cancer cells.
- Reducing estrogen level medications: Endometrial cancer which thrives on estrogen may die taking medications which reduce the levels in the body’s system.
This treatment makes use of chemicals to kill cancer cells. This therapy can either be taken orally through drugs or intravenously through veins. It is recommended to women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer that has spread beyond the uterus.
SUPPORTIVE (PALLIATIVE) CARE
This is a specialised medical care which focuses on giving relief from pain and other symptoms of the illness. Palliative care can be used when treatment methods being undergone are intensive (surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy). The good thing about this is that the palliative care specialists work in line with family members and doctors so as to create an additional support system.
Palliative care accompanied by other appropriate treatments extends the chance of survival of cancer patients by a huge margin. The care is provided by doctors and nurses with other trained experts.
DIAGNOSING UTERINE CANCER (ENDOMETRIAL CANCER)
- Pelvic exam: During the pelvic exam, the doctor cautiously inspects the outer part of the genitals and feels the uterus and ovaries.
- Ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound may be recommended to look at the thickness and texture of the endometrium and helps to rule out certain conditions. This test makes use of high frequency sound waves to create images of the internal body. To create the images of the reproductive organs, a device known as the transducer is either pressed against the abdominal skin.
- Hysteroscopy: Here, cells from the cervix are retrieved and tested for infection, inflammation or changes that may be cancerous.
- Biopsy: Endometrial biopsy is done to retrieve samples of uterine lining for laboratory analysis. This procedure may be carried out in the doctor’s office and don’t usually need anaesthesia.