When abnormal cells form in the uterus and expand out of control, it is called uterine cancer. In this article of HealthoWealth we will walk you through anything about this cancer. Uterine cancer is divided into two categories. Endometrial tumours start in the uterine lining (endometrium) and account for nearly 95% of all cases; uterine sarcomas start in the muscle tissue (myometrium) and are the rarest type of uterine cancer.
It is also known as uterine cancer and is Australia’s most often diagnosed gynaecological cancer. By the age of 85, one in every 40 Australian women will be identified with uterine cancer. In Australia, 3267 new cases of uterine cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2021. Because endometrial cancer is by far the most common type, uterine cancer is frequently referred to as endometrial cancer. The likelihood of overcoming uterine cancer for at least five years is 83 percent.
Uterine cancer symptoms
The most prevalent symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause. Other common signs and symptoms are including:
- Periods that are heavier than normal or a change in your periods.
- Vaginal bleeding between menstrual cycles.
- Periods in which there is no break.
Symptoms that are less prevalent include:
- watery discharge with a disagreeable odor
- Unexpected weight loss
- A change in bowel habit or difficulties urinating
- Abdominal discomfort
While there are other causes for these symptoms, if you are worried, consult your doctor.
Causes of uterine cancer
The following are some factors that can raise your risk of uterine cancer:
- nearing menopause or being postmenopausal (after age 55)
- A thicker liner for the walls (endometrial hyperplasia)
- Having no children
- Early menstruation
- having diabetes or high blood pressure
- being obese or overweight
- Ovarian, uterine, or intestinal cancer in the family
- possessing a genetic disorder such as Lynch syndrome or Cowden syndrome
- Polycystic ovary syndrome or prior ovarian tumours
- Hormone replacement therapy or fertility treatment based solely on oestrogen
- Prior pelvic radiation treatment
- treating breast cancer with tamoxifen (the benefits of treating breast cancer usually outweigh the danger of uterine cancer – (talk to your doctor if you are concerned).
Diagnosis of uterine cancer
Tests to diagnose uterine cancer are the following:
The doctor may check your belly for inflammation. The doctor will examine your uterus by placing two fingers inside your vagina while pressing on your abdomen, or by using equipment (a speculum) that splits the vaginal walls (similar to a cervical screening test).
Soundwaves are used to create an image of your uterus and ovaries during a pelvic ultrasound. Whenever soundwaves collide with anything thick, such as a tumour or an organ, they reverberate. From these echoes, a computer creates a picture. A pelvic ultrasound can be performed in two ways, and both types are frequently performed at the same time. Ultrasonography of the pelvis normally takes 15 to 30 minutes. The doctor may recommend a biopsy if anything seems out of the ordinary.
An ultrasound examination requires a full bladder to get adequate photos of the ovaries and uterus, therefore you will be advised to drink water before your session. A sonographer will pass a small device known as a transducer across your abdomen.
A transducer wand will be inserted into your vaginal canal by the sonographer. Although the ultrasound may be unpleasant, it should not be painful. If you’re nervous or ashamed about getting an ultrasound, tell the technician ahead of time. You can request a female sonographer or another person in the room with you.
In the specialist’s office, an endometrial biopsy is performed. To gently suck cells from the uterine lining, a long, thin tube (pipelle) is placed into your vagina. The cells are then taken to a pathologist to be examined under a microscope. Because you may experience pain comparable to period cramps, your doctor may advise you to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen before the surgery.
Hysteroscopy and biopsy
A hysteroscopy is a telescope-like instrument that is placed into your uterus through your vaginal canal to permit a gynaecologist or gynaecological oncologist to see within your uterus. Tissue can also be taken (biopsy) and sent to a laboratory for additional testing during this operation.
Blood and urine tests
Blood and urine tests may be performed to evaluate your overall health and help you make treatment decisions.
If cancer is found in your uterus, you may need additional scans, such as an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan, to discover if cancer has spread to other regions of your body. A PET scan may be used to diagnose certain types of uterine cancer, such as sarcoma.
After a diagnosis of uterine cancer!
You may be surprised, worried, scared, or bewildered after learning that you have uterine cancer. These are typical reactions. Each person is affected differently by a uterine cancer diagnosis. Most individuals will have a terrible time, while some may be able to carry on with their typical daily tasks.
Discussing your treatment options with your doctors, family, and friends may be beneficial. Ask as many questions as you need and gather as much information as possible. It is entirely up to you how involved you want to be in making treatment decisions.
Treatment for uterine cancer
The majority of women with uterine cancer will simply undergo surgery, especially if the cancer is detected early and has not progressed to other parts of the body.
Surgical removal of the uterus and cervix is the most standard treatment for uterine cancer. A total hysterectomy is a name for this treatment. A bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy occurs when both fallopian tubes and ovaries are eliminated.
Because ovaries generate oestrogen, a hormone that can cause cancer to develop, they are frequently removed to limit the likelihood of the cancer returning.
A cut in the abdomen (laparotomy) or keyhole surgery can be used to execute the surgery (laparoscopic surgery). You will receive a general anaesthetic. If cancer has spread, the surgeon may remove more tissue or lymph nodes from your pelvis during the treatment.
Women who were not menopausal before treatment and have a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy will go through menopause once the ovaries are removed. As a result, if you’re worried about how the surgery will influence your fertility, speak with your doctor before starting therapy.
During your rehabilitation, the treatment staff will advise you on how to take care of yourself, such as avoiding lifting, driving, and sexual intercourse for a short time.
Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)
Radiation therapy, which uses x-rays to destroy or harm cancer cells, is frequently employed as a follow-up treatment to lower the risk of cancer recurrence. If you are not well enough for surgery, it may be advised as the primary treatment.
External radiation therapy, in which a machine delivers radiation to cancer and surrounding tissue; or internal radiation therapy, in which radioactive material is deposited in thin tubes and implanted near cancer inside (brachytherapy).
Radiation therapy to the pelvic region has the potential to produce menopause; therefore, if you are concerned about how treatment will affect your fertility, you should discuss your concerns with your treatment team before starting treatment.
If cancer has progressed or returned, hormone therapy is frequently prescribed (recurred). When surgery is not an option, it is occasionally used. Progesterone is the most common hormone treatment for uterine cancer in women, and it comes in tablet form or as an injection given by a doctor or nurse. It aids in the reduction of some malignancies and the management of symptoms.
Chemotherapy is used to treat certain types of uterine cancer, as well as when the disease returns after surgery or radiotherapy or when cancer does not respond to hormone therapy. It can be used to treat cancer and alleviate its symptoms. It is normally administered as a medication injected into a vein (intravenously). The chemotherapy will be explained by the doctor.
Your medical team may discuss palliative care with you if you have uterine cancer. Palliative care seeks to improve your quality of life by reducing cancer-related symptoms. Palliative treatment can ease pain and assist manage other symptoms as well as slow the progression of uterine cancer.
Depending on the treatment, your care team may consist of a variety of specialists such as:
- Your GP (General Practitioner) is responsible for your overall health and collaborates with your specialists to organize treatment.
- Diagnoses and treats malignancies of the female reproductive system as a gynaecological oncologist.
- A gynaecologist is a doctor who specializes in illnesses of the female reproductive system.
- A radiation oncologist is a doctor who prescribes and oversees radiation therapy.
- A medical oncologist is a physician who directs and prescribes chemotherapy.
- Cancer nurses give medical assistance as well as information and support during your treatment.
- Infertility and reproductive hormonal abnormalities are diagnosed, treated, and managed by fertility specialists.
- Throughout your treatment and recovery, a dietician will advise you on an eating schedule.
- Allied health professionals include people like social workers, pharmacists, and counsellors.
Screening for uterine cancer
In Australia, there is currently no national uterine cancer screening program.
Preventing uterine cancer
There are no known preventative methods for uterine cancer. However, by keeping a healthy weight and being aware of any unusual vaginal bleeding, you may be able to reduce your risk factors.
Prognosis of uterine cancer
A doctor cannot anticipate the exact course of a disease because it is dependent on the conditions of each individual. However, based on the type of uterine cancer you have, the test results, the rate of tumour growth, as well as your age, fitness, and medical history, your doctor may offer you a prognosis, or expected outcome of the condition. Early detection of uterine cancer usually results in a favorable prognosis.
If, after reading the article “what is uterine cancer “, you liked it and became interested in studying in other fields of health and medicine, we suggest you read the following articles from the category cancer on our website.