What Is Endometrial Cancer? Its Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Endometrial cancer refers to the cancer of the endometrium i.e. the internal lining of the uterus. While there are other forms of uterine cancers, endometrial cancer is one of the most common types. While this condition usually affects older females, endometrial cancer in also found in young women.

The exact cause of endometrial cancer is not known, however it is linked with increase in levels of estrogen.

This article provides information about how to diagnose and treat endometrial cancer.

Endometrial cancer is a form of uterine cancer, which affects the inner lining of the uterus. While this condition is more frequently observed in women after their menopause, it may also affect younger women. In most cases, this condition is diagnosed at an early stage and the disease is treatable. Some of the common risk factors related to endometrial cancer include,

  • Early menarche (before the age of 12) and late menopause (after the age of 50 years) is associated with high risk of endometrial cancer.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Family history of cancer or personal history of ovarian or breast cancer increases the likelihood of endometrial cancer.
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy or never being pregnant is associated with higher risk of development of the condition.

Endometrial Cancer Symptoms In Young Women

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is one of the most commonly experienced symptoms, which is linked with endometrial cancer. However there are some other key symptoms which include,

  • Prolonged and heavy bleeding during the menstrual periods.
  • Bleeding between cycles or more than one period in one month.
  • Bleeding before or after sexual intercourse.
  • Additional symptoms like pain during sexual intercourse, pelvic pain during periods, watery discharge and unintentional weight loss are additional symptoms that are observed in young women.

How To Diagnose Endometrial Cancer?

Diagnosis of endometrial cancer may require a series of investigations and examinations which rule out other conditions mimicking similar symptoms.

  • A pelvic examination performed by the gynecologist with assessment of medical history and symptoms is a good starting point for the diagnosis. The gynecologist may perform a pap smear to rule out cervical conditions, though occasionally it can also help detect endometrial cancer.
  • Endometrial biopsy can help confirm the diagnosis. Alternatively the gynecologist may perform dilation and curettage under general anesthesia to collect endometrial tissue for assessment.

Following diagnosis of endometrial cancer, microscopic examination is performed to stage the cancer and assess the spread to the cancer to surrounding organs.

Treatment For Endometrial Cancer

The treatment of endometrial cancer usually depends upon the stage of cancer, but surgical intervention is unavoidable in most of the cases. Hysterectomy either with or without the removal of fallopian tubes and the ovaries is performed, depending upon the spread of the cancer. In addition lymph nodes may also be removed in case the tumor has spread to surrounding lymph nodes.

Other alternatives include radiation oncology and chemotherapy, which is used especially for highly metastatic tumors. Ensuring a healthy diet, regular exercise, yoga and meditation are some of the techniques that help cope with the stress of associated with the condition and eventually also prevent the spread of the cancer.

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