Symptoms, Risk Factors And Prevention For Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer
The female reproductive organs usually are attacked with cancer of the womb, known as the endometrial cancer. According the American Cancer Society in 2015 about 54.870 new cases of this type of cancer were diagnosed in the USA. Every year 8,475 new cases are discovered and 3% of them are the womb cancers, making it the 4th most common cancer in the population.
The early detection is very important. Many survivors lead a normal and healthy life after early detection.
The Lining of the Womb is attacked by cancer
The uterine cancer has different types. It starts on the inner lining of the womb, a layer called the endometrial. This lining changes throughout the menstrual cycle and affects the female sex hormones.
Sometimes the cancer can start in the womb`s outer layer, the muscular layer know as the myometrium, important for delivering babies. They are also known as the uterine sarcomas. When looking through the percentage, 8 % of all uterine cancers are treated in a different way. We will not cover this uterine sarcomas in this article.
The difference between Uterine Cancer and Cervical Cancer
The normal uterus should look like an upside down pear, medium –sized.
It is contained from two parts:
- the upper part of the womb known as the corpus
- the lower part that extends to the vagina known as the cervix.
Usually the cancer starts in the body of the uterus, although the cervix is technically a part of the womb. After cancer attacks the cervical cancer can spread up to the body womb, but they are diagnosed and treated differently. If you want to know more about the cervical cancer, you can read the post about the 10 warning signs of cervical cancer.
Symptoms and Signs of the Uterine Cancer
The symptom that is most common is the abnormal vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge from your vagina. This should be considered important if you already have been through the menopause. At if you are bleeding between menstrual periods you should consider a visit to the doctor.
Don`t panic if you are having these bleedings, not all of them are connected with cancer. But visit a doctor to be sure.
Different symptoms can appear as well:
- pain during sex
- pain during urination
- pelvic pain
You need to check with the doctor if any of these symptoms repeat. It may also be a sign of ovarian cancer and you can read about it in the 8 early warning signs of ovarian cancer.
Risk Factors of Uterine Cancer
Woman who have been through menopause are most likely to suffer from this type of cancer. Usually woman between the ages of 40 to 74 are diagnosed with this cancer. Due to the hormonal imbalances the physiologically characteristics are changing and you can read about them in the 13 signs you have hormonal imbalance. With this hormonal imbalance the lining of the uterus can become thicker and can make an environment where the cancer cells are growing.
There are other risk factors like:
- Endometrial overgrowth (thickening of the lining of the womb)
- First period before the age of 12
- Menopause after the age of 55
- No children
- HRT therapy(hormone replacement therapy)
- Long use of tamoxifen (the breast cancer drug)
- Family history
- Radiation to the pelvis
- Lynch syndrome ( inherited cancer of the colon)
Lower the risk of Uterine Cancer
You cant control some things like family history and age. But for the other risks you may be able to do something about them.
- You can eat balanced diet maintaining healthy body weight. With bigger body fat comes bigger estrogen level.
- You can exercise regularly, lowering the body weight will lower the estrogen level. You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week.
- You can reduce the estrogen activity if you have a baby, you need to breastfeed.
- If you use contraceptive pill in the long run you can reduce the risk of womb cancer. You may also use contraceptive implants and intrauterine system to lower the risk.
- Endometrial hyperplasia ( abnormal bleeding) should be treated promptly.
- Discuss the risks with your doctor if you have to take tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, have your pelvis examination and regular check-up.
Treatment for Uterine Cancer
When you need to confirm if you have womb cancer, you need to give a small tissue from the womb`s inner lining and analyze it. It is called endometrial biopsy.
Depending on the type and the stage of the cancer different treatment options are used.
Usually a hysterectomy is performed, a surgical removal of the womb. Sometimes the ovaries and the fallopian tubes need to be removed as well, and if the cancer has spread the lymph nodes surrounding the womb are removed as well. Other treatments after surgery are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Some women undergo hormone therapy as well to curb the growth of the cancer.
Many side effects occur when using these invasive treatments, and all of them affect the health of the overall body.
If you already are undergoing these treatments there are some side effects that you can treat at home using natural options:
- Ginger and peppermint tea against nausea and vomiting
- Stay hydrated if suffering from diarrhea
- manage and prioritize the daily activities
- have healthy routines
- help with sleeping with light exercises
- you can use turmeric, ginger, capsaicin for the pain, but consult the doctor about them
- ease the anxiety and stress by talking to someone about the issue