A woman who happens to possess endometrial cancer symptoms is obliged to see a doctor as soon as possible. Possible tests to further assess the disease such as blood and urine tests will have to be conducted.
Endometrial Cancer or sometimes known as Uterine Cancer is considered the most common among other cancers found in the uterus. This type of cancer is said to form at the lining of the uterus.
Endometrial cancer could be treated right away since the symptoms are too obvious and they usually appear even at an early stage.
Signs of Endometrial Cancer
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding (Before or After menopause)
- Pelvic Pain
- Weight Loss
- Vaginal discharge with foul smell
- Pain in the lower abdomen, back, and legs
Diagnosing Endometrial Cancer
To further assess the diagnosis of Endometrial Cancer, different tests and procedures will be done.
1. Transvaginal Ultrasound
Most doctors would recommend Transvaginal Ultrasound in order to detect the condition of your endometrium. In this process, a wand-like device is inserted into your organ to see the thickness and the texture of your endometrium. This is also a good way to check if other conditions may have occurred inside. This device uses sound waves to give you images of what your uterus looks like. That is why it is good in checking the overall condition of your uterus including the lining which is where the said cancer used to develop.
2. Pelvic Exam
Pelvic examination is done by inserting a speculum into your vagina to further inspect abnormalities. However, before that, the doctor needs to check first the outer layer of your genitals. He/she will have to insert two fingers inside your vagina as the other hand presses your abdomen so the doctor could have a feel of your uterus and ovaries.
3. Endometrial Biopsy
An endometrial biopsy involves tissue removal for testing. This process might make you cringe but it’s one way to know about the conditions of your uterus. Your doctor will be getting a sample tissue from the lining of your uterus and have it checked in the laboratory.
To conduct this test, the doctor will have to insert a thin, lighted tube through your vagina and into the uterus. This device uses its lenses to let the doctor see the inside of your uterus.
5. Dilation and Curettage
Dilation and Curettage or D&C is a surgical operation wherein a tissue from the lining of your uterus will be removed for testing. This process is usually the last resort of the doctors if the results from the previous tests conducted were unclear.
Stages of Endometrial Cancer
Just like how other types of cancer are being treated, your doctor must also first know which stage Endometrial Cancer is. In order to do that, a couple of tests such as chest X-ray, CT scan, PET scan, and a blood test should follow.
- Stage I – Cancer is in the uterus
- Stage II – Cancer is in the uterus and in the cervix
- Stage III – Cancer spreads beyond the uterus
- Stage IV – Cancer spreads all over the body
Endometrial Cancer Treatment
Endometrial Cancer at an early stage could still be treated by surgery. Research suggests that the most effective surgery for early cancer is combined hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy wherein the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and the uterus will be removed. Aside from using this as a cancer treatment, patients may also use it as a process of preventing cancer cells from growing. Surgery may also remove other health conditions such as lymph nodes.
This is the most common treatment for all types of cancer. Chemotherapy could be given to your orally which is by pill, or intravenously which is through veins. You might be familiar with chemotherapy already since this is what most doctors would recommend for a patient diagnosed with cancer. Chemotherapy is a process wherein it targets the cancer cells by flowing through your bloodstream.
Radiation is mostly given to patients whose cases are sort of severe since cancer has already spread beyond the uterus. It uses energy beams from X-rays and protons to combat growing cancer cells. In some cases, doctors would also recommend radiation even if cancer hasn’t gone beyond the uterus – this is a way of preventing cancer cells from spreading and growing. Radiation may also be recommended for patients who have undergone surgery to prevent cancer cells from growing back.
Progesterone is a kind of hormone therapy that is considered to be the most conducive treatment to slow the growth of cancer. This treatment is also an option for patients who do not want to undergo surgery. Hormone therapy involves prescribed drugs and medications to produce an impact on the hormone levels of the body.
Endometrial Cancer Prevention
There are also ways that you can try doing in order to be safe from Endometrial Cancer. Check out the following:
- Talk to your doctor about taking birth control pills. Some studies suggest that by taking oral contraceptives, you will most likely lessen the chances of catching Endometrial Cancer. However, oral contraceptives also have their own side effects. This is why it would be best that you discuss this with your doctor so you would know the precautions.
- Look after your weight. We all know that obesity could lead to various illnesses. So in order to keep yourself from catching not only Endometrial Cancer but also other diseases as well, you need to make sure that you stay healthy by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet.
- Consider talking to your doctor about risk factors. Another best way to prevent Endometrial Cancer is to talk with your doctor about the possible risk factors. Depending on your health and condition, your doctor is the best person who could advise on what to do to keep your body from growing cancer cells.