Uterine cancer is the most commonly diagnosed gynaecologic malignancy and it is the sixth most common cancer affecting women worldwide. Recent data on uterine cancer suggests that there has been a constant surge in the incidence rates of uterine cancer. Some of the underlying reasons for this might be –
Increased use of tamoxifen due to a surge in breast cancer cases
The most common symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This can be bleeding between periods, bleeding after menopause, or bleeding heavier than usual. It usually starts as light bleeding with watery discharge which tends to get heavier with time.
9 out of 10 uterine cancer patients report this symptom. However, abnormal vaginal bleeding may also occur due to other issues. It is best to consult a gynecologist before reaching any conclusion.
The exact causes of uterine cancer are not yet known. However, through years of observation, study and research, a few factors have been revealed that play a crucial role in increasing the risk of cancer in the uterus.
Some of the risk factors leading to uterine cancer are controllable, like the use of hormone regulating medicines, obesity and diabetes. But most of the factors contributing to uterine cancer are beyond one’s control. Infertility, early menarche, ageing, hereditary risks are some of the natural causatives.
Most cases of uterine cancer are caused by natural factors that are beyond one’s control. But there are a few lifestyle factors like obesity, diabetes etc. can further alleviate the risk. So, controlling these factors can lower the risk of uterine cancer to some extent.
Here are a few tips advised by experts to prevent uterine cancer:
Staging of Uterine Cancer helps in proper diagnosis and planning for the treatment. It is staged in 4 levels ranging from stage I to IV, the severity increasing with each passed stage. The stages are discussed in details below:
Survival rate is a mere estimation calculated by taking into account the past records of uterine cancer patient’s survival. Usually, it is calculated for a period of 5 years. But these percentage should not be treated as a verdict. There are several factors that matter in determining the prognosis or survival rate of uterine cancer.
Here is the statistical data shared by researchers that can give a vague idea about the severity of the cancer at different stages:
About 67% of uterine cancer cases are detected in an early stage. Because cancerous growth in the uterus often causes symptoms like vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, vaginal discharge and discomfort.
Most cases of uterine cancer are diagnosed during a visit to the gynaecologist. In case the gynaecologist suspect cancer, he or she might suggest any of the following tests and screenings to confirm the presence of cancerous cells:
Uterine cancer in most cases are detected early and treated fairly. The treatment options for uterine cancer depend on multiple characteristics, like the stage, general health condition, root cause, age of the patient, their preference and many such factors. Weighing all the factors the oncologist could choose any of the following treatment options –
Uterine Cancer, if detected at early stages is easy to cure. Endometrial Cancer is usually cured with proper treatment while uterine sarcoma is harder to cure. Removing the uterus along with the surrounding affected organs is generally the go to solution, though it ends up in menopause and infertility.
Though cure at later stages become slim, but there is a great possibility of finding cure even after cancer has metastasized. The patient and healthcare team should work closely towards the progress of treatment.
Open conversations about the symptoms, side-effects, mental health, emotional conditions, coping and recovering helps in better prognosis.
People who have ticked on one or more of the risk factors should go for regular screenings and tests. Post-menopausal women, obese women, women with hormonal issues, women with frequent periods, women using tamoxifen or exposed to any other risks should consult a gynaecologist regularly with or without symptoms.
Women who in doubt for any of the symptoms should consult a gynecologist and get their doubts cleared. Even a faint or ignorable symptom could still be an early signal, which when attended could save a lot of damage.
Uterine Cancer is among those few cancer types that are usually detected early for the prominent symptoms it produces. Abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, a tumorous mass, bloating often lead the patient to the doctor’s clinic resulting in diagnosis.