Uterine Cancer - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Uterine Cancer

Dr.Rani Bhat profile Authored by Dr.Rani Bhat on 27 Jan 2015 - 10:25.

Uterine cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system. Uterine cancer usually occurs in women over the age of 50 and after menopause, but up to 25 percent of cases may occur before the menopause.

A 30 years old lady married for 7 years, with no children has history of polycystic ovaries and irregular bleeding pervagina for 6 months. Biopsy confirmed uterine cancer and the scan showed that the cancer was confined to the uterus. She underwent surgery which included total hysterectomy with removal of tubes and ovaries and pelvic lymph nodes. Her final report said that she was in stage 1B. Following the surgery she received radiation. She recovered well from treatment and is now cancer free.

What causes uterine cancer?

Risk factors suggest that you are more likely to develop uterine cancer if:

1. You are overweight or obese

2. You are over 50 years old and have nor had menopause yet.

3. Your endometrium grows too thick (a condition known as endometrial hyperplasia)

4. One or more people in your family have had endometrial, bowel, breast or ovarian cancer, or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer – HNPCC)

5. You are taking the drug tamoxifen (which is used to treat breast cancer)

6. You have hypertension and diabetes

7. You never had children

8. You have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

9. You had pelvic radiation in the past to treat another cancer.

Endometrial cancer is rising in incidence and is most likely due to the rising incidence of obesity.

Symptoms of endometrial cancer include:

1. Bleeding after you’ve been through menopause

2. Unusually heavy periods and bleeding in between your periods

3. Unusual fluid or discharge from your vagina which is watery, bloody or smelly.

4. Pain in your abdomen

5. Trouble going to the toilet or pain when you do go.

See a specialist gynecological oncologist doctor who will examine you and will do a blood test and an ultrasound of your uterus. To confirm the diagnosis a sample or biopsy of the lining of the uterus will be done. This can be done in OPD.

The kind of treatment will depend on the stage of cancer, your age, health and medical history.

Treatment: In young patients where the cancer is at an early stage and who wish to retain their uterus, it can be treated with high dose of hormones. In those young patients who have completed their family, their uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are removed but ovaries are retained so that they do not have early menopause.

In elderly patients or in those where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, we have to remove both ovaries and also remove those areas affected with cancers. Following the surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy may be required based on the final report.

*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.