Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer or uterine cancer is a type of cancer that originates from the endothelium (endometrium) of the uterus. Endometrial cancer is the most common uterine carcinoma which is usually the adenocarcinoma type that secretes mucus.

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

This gynecological cancer presents as vaginal bleeding after menopause, bleeding before periods, bloody and watery discharge through the vagina, pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. Gynecologists may perform a direct pelvic examination with the use of a culposcope, hysteroscope and ultrasound to show the uterine pathology. A biopsy from the uterine tissues may be submitted for histopathologic studies which will clinch the definitive diagnosis.

Treatment Option

The treatment option for endometrial cancer will depend on the stage, characteristics and the general health of the woman. The following treatment modalities may be available for women with endometrial cancer.

Surgery – Hysterectomy or the surgical removal of the uterus is indicated in all cases of uterine cancer. In most cases, the removal of the Fallopian tubes and ovaries (Salpingo-oophorectomy) are also indicated. When the gynecologist removes the ovaries, women may no longer conceive a child and may undergo an early menopausal syndrome post-operatively.

Radiation – Radiation therapy makes use of powerful beams of X-ray to directly kill the cancer cells. Radiotherapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor and after the surgery to prevent the recurrence of the disease.

Hormone Therapy – This is involves the taking of exogenous hormones like progestins and anti-estrogens to inhibit cancer growth.

Chemotherapy – This treatment modality uses chemicals orally or intravenously to kill cancer cells directly.

Outcome

Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in the US today. The early diagnosis of endometrial cancer coupled with prompt hysterectomy may completely cure the cancer. However, the median age for the disease is at 70 years old or older, making major operations more risky. Regular Pap smear of the cervix may avert future cancer complications in females.

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