Cancer » Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer is one of the major forms of cancer occurring in the uterus of women. The disease is also known as uterine cancer or cancer of the womb and can cause an irreversible damage if not detected and treated in time. Not all the cancers originating in the uterus are uterine cancers. There is a possibility of various other cancers originating in or spreading to the uterus but the possibility is rare. Hence, any issues relating to the abnormalities in the uterus must be dealt with immediately by consulting a physician.
What is endometrial cancer?
Uterus is a very important organ of a woman's body and it plays a vital role in the process of reproduction. This is an area where the fetus develops and hence a regular and thorough examination of uterus is vital. The uterine cancer develops primarily in the uterus. Hence, it is extremely important to understand the nature and severity of the disease for its early detection and better diagnosis.
Uterine cancer is developed due to the formation of tumors by the malignant cells in the lining of the uterus. These malignant or tumor cells damage the adjacent healthy tissues and also hinder the usual cell-formation and growth mechanism. Cells that exist as a layer on the lining of the uterus are most prone to the infection. The lining of the uterus is also known as endometrium and the cancerous cells develop mainly in this area.
The cancerous cells develop by replacing the healthy tissues and live cells and disturb the body mechanism to a considerable extent. The main function of tissues is to supply oxygen and blood to various parts of the body. When these tissues are invaded by the malignant cells, they are unable to carry out their task properly. This puts a direct impact on other parts of the body and upsets the co-ordination between various organs. The malignant cells divide and grow rapidly and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymph nodes. In the disease, the cell-growth mechanism is hampered to such an extent that the body keeps developing new cells unnecessarily and the old cells do not die out the way they should. As a result, a group of unwanted cells known as tumor is formed.
Endometrial cancer is mainly of two types as endometrial adenocarcinomas and uterine sarcomas. Adenocarcinomas develop in the glandular area of the endometrium while the uterine sarcomas develop in the muscle cells and connective tissue of the uterus. Adenocarcinomasis is the most common type of uterine cancer.
Make yourself safe
Endometrial cancer is fully curable if detected in its initial stages. The disease shows very clear symptoms and hence, the cure becomes easier. In majority of the uterine cancer cases, vaginal bleeding has been the most common and considerable symptom. Unusual bleeding during periods or after the menopause must be taken seriously and treated urgently. Abnormal pain during the sexual intercourse is another important indicator of the presence of malignant cells. Some may also experience back pain, abdominal pain and unusual discharge from the vagina. Loss of weight, tiredness and constipation are some other basic symptoms. Prolonged ignorance to the above symptoms can cause chronic blood loss from the vagina and may lead to anemia. Hence, women suffering from anemia must undergo a thorough medical examination to detect the presence of cancerous cells.
Higher level of a hormone called estrogen is the most common cause of this disease. If another hormone called progesterone does not balance the estrogen hormone correctly, the person has much higher chances of being infected by the disease. Especially, in obese women, the fat cells tend to develop high amount of estrogen but the body may not generate sufficient progesterone. This may lead to hormonal imbalance. A female starting her periods in an early age or having menopause after 55 years of age is also prone to uterine cancer. Women who are treated with tamoxifen for infertility and breast cancer have higher chances of being a victim to the disease. Family medical history is another important factor in the occurrence of the disease. During pregnancy period, the level of estrogen is normally low and hence beneficial for the body. Infertility may also lead to the uterine cancer as there is no chance of getting pregnant and hence, the estrogen levels are consistently high. Diabetes, hypertension and high consumption of alcohol are some of the indirect causes of the disease. Also, previous history of ovarian cancer and breast cancer will make you highly vulnerable to the uterine cancer. The disease is more common in women aged over 55 years but regular medical examination of body is recommended for women over 35 years of age.
The cancer is generally classified in grades depending upon its intensity. In the first stage, the disease only affects the uterus. It reaches the cervix in the second stage. In the third stage, the cancerous cells spread outside the uterus. In the last stage, they spread to other vital organs like the bladder, abdomen and bowel. Various techniques are available worldwide to detect the disease right in the initial stages. Removal of uterus by undergoing surgery is the most important and common technique adopted to eliminate the disease. Biopsy, pap test, dilation and curettage technique, magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan) and computed tomography scan (CT scan) are some of the primary techniques to examine the body thoroughly. Radiation therapy and chemical therapy are other common forms of treatment available to cure the disease.
Endometrial cancer is one of the major health concerns among women. It is inter-related to various other forms of cancer and hence, any symptoms concerned with the disease or abnormalities in the vagina or adjacent areas must be diagnosed immediately. The average cure rate of uterine cancer is very high as most of the cases were detected right in the initial stages. Hence, a regular health check-up and timely medical advice will help to fight the disease better.