Womb Cancer

An Overview

Cancer of the womb (uterine or endometrial cancer) is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It’s more common in women who have been through the menopause. Cancer of the womb or uterine cancer is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It’s also called endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer occurs in the lining of the uterus, shown above in the illustration of the female reproductive system. If you have been through the menopause any vaginal bleeding is considered abnormal. If you have not yet been through the menopause, unusual bleeding may include bleeding between your periods. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the world. But survival rates are improving for many types of cancer, thanks to improvements in cancer screening and cancer treatment.

  • Cancer of the womb or uterine cancer is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It’s also called endometrial cancer.
  • Endometrial cancer occurs in the lining of the uterus, shown above in the illustration of the female reproductive system.

Symptoms of womb cancer

The most common symptom of womb cancer is vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you (abnormal).

  • As for post-menopausal women, it can take a while to adjust to what is now ‘normal’ in relations of your vaginal discharge. If you are not certain, the best way of action is to approach your doctor or nurse to ask if the bleeding is normal.
  • If you’ve been through the menopause any vaginal bleeding is considered abnormal.
  • Difficulty breathing. Cancer or cancer treatment may cause a feeling of being short of breath. Treatments may bring relief.
  • Fatigue.
  • Pain in the back, legs or pelvis.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment may cause weight loss. Cancer steals food from normal cells and deprives them of nutrients. This is often not affected by how many calories or what kind of food is eaten.
  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin.
  • Nausea.
  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain.
  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats.

Causes for Womb Cancer

Cancer is caused by changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is packaged into a large number of individual genes, each of which contains a set of instructions telling the cell what functions to perform, as well as how to grow and divide. Errors in the instructions can cause the cell to stop its normal function and may allow a cell to become cancerous.
1. Changes in the balance of female hormones in the body:

Your ovaries produces two main female hormones which are the oestrogen and progesterone. Variations in the balance of these hormones cause changes in your uterus.

2. Allow rapid growth:

A gene mutation can tell a cell to grow and divide more rapidly. This creates many new cells that all have that same mutation.

3. Oestrogen levels after the menopause:

Oestrogen stimulates the release of eggs from your ovaries and causes the cells of the womb lining to divide, progesterone gets the lining of your uterus ready to receive the egg from the ovaries.

4. Make mistakes when repairing DNA errors:

DNA repair genes look for errors in a cell’s DNA and make corrections. A mutation in a DNA repair gene may mean that other errors aren’t corrected, leading cells to become cancerous.

5. More years of menstruation:

If you begin menstruating at an early age before the age of 12 or beginning to have your menopause far ahead increases the risk of womb cancer. The more periods you’ve had, the more exposure your endometrium has had to oestrogen.

6. Fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth:

Normal cells know when to stop growing so that you have just the right number of each type of cell. Cancer cells lose the controls (tumor suppressor genes) that tell them when to stop growing.

7. Obesity:

Being obese increases your risk of uterine cancer. This may occur because of the excess body fat changes your body’s balance of hormones. Women who are overweight are 3 times more likely to develop womb cancer compared with women who are a healthy weight.

8. Hormone therapy for breast cancer:

Women with breast cancer who take the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen have a higher risk of developing womb cancer. If you’re taking tamoxifen, please consider to discuss this risk with your doctor. For most women, the benefits of tamoxifen outweigh the small risk of womb cancer.

9. Never having been pregnant:

Women who have never been pregnant have a higher risk of womb cancer than do women who have had at least one pregnancy.

Diagnosis

1. Transvaginal ultrasound scan (TVS):

A TVS is a type of ultrasound scan that uses a small probe as a scanner. This is placed directly into the vagina to get a detailed picture of the inside of the womb. The probe can feel a little uncomfortable but should not be painful.

2. Hysteroscopy and biopsy:

If the TVS detects changes in the thickness of the lining of your womb, you’ll usually be offered a hysteroscopy. Sometimes you may have a biopsy without hysteroscopy, called “aspiration biopsy”.

3. X.Ray:

A chest X-ray – where radiation is used to check if the cancer has spread to your lungs.

4. Laboratory tests:

Laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests, may help your doctor identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer.

Treatment

1. Surgery for stage 1 womb cancer. If you have stage 1 cancer, you’ll probably have a hysterectomy. This involves removing the womb, as well as both ovaries and the fallopian tubes, in a procedure called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO).

2. Primary treatment. The goal of a primary treatment is to completely remove the cancer from your body or kill the cancer cells.

3. Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.

4. Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells.

5. Hormone therapy. Some types of cancer are fueled by your body’s hormones. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer.

 Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

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