Endometrial cancer is uterine cancer that starts in the inner lining of the uterus. This inner lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Cancer that begins here is called endometrial cancer. As this accounts for almost all types of uterine cancer, it is also called so. Approximately 3 in 100 women will be diagnosed with uterine cancer at some point in their lives.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Watery or blood-tinged vaginal discharge
- Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Pain during sex
- Increasing age
- Changes in sex hormone levels
- Certain medical conditions
- Family history of cancer
- Genetic predisposition
- Certain medications
- Endometrial hyperplasia
Endometrial cancer is classified into four stages:
- Stage 1: The cancer is only present in the uterus.
- Stage 2: The cancer is present in the uterus and cervix.
- Stage 3: The cancer has spread outside the uterus, but not as far as the rectum or bladder. It might be present in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, and/or nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage 4: The cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area. It might be present in the bladder, rectum, and/or distant tissues and organs.
The doctor will perform a detailed examination and a pelvic exam to look and feel for abnormalities in the uterus and other reproductive organs. A transvaginal ultrasound exam is suggested to check for tumours or other abnormalities.
If an abnormality is detected during the exam, the following tests might be suggested:
- Endometrial biopsy
- Dilation and curettage (D&C)
There are several treatment options available for endometrial cancer. The treatment plan will depend on the stage of cancer. Surgery is the most common modality of treatment. A hysterectomy is most often performed. This may be followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy
- Manage your weight with regular exercise and a healthy diet
- Seek treatment for abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Consider the pros and cons of hormone therapy
- Speak to the doctor about the potential benefits of contraceptives