UTERINE CANCER

  • Growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Also called cancer of the uterus, or uterine cancer.
  • Usually occurs in women older than 50 and is usually cured when found early which is the case in most patients
  • Most common cause of type I endometrial cancer is an excess of the hormone estrogen compared to the hormone progesterone in the body. This imbalance causes the lining of the uterus to become thicker. Continuous buildup allows the cancer cells to grow.
  • Women who have this hormone imbalance over time may be more likely to get endometrial cancer after age 50.
  • Unexpected vaginal bleeding after menopause is the most common symptom of endometrial cancer.
  • Symptoms of more advanced endometrial cancer include:
    • Pain in the pelvic area
    • A pelvic lump
    • Weight loss
  • Symptoms may be mistaken other conditions such as endometriosis.

DIAGNOSIS

  • Physician may do/request:
    • History & Physical Exam
      • Pelvic Exam
    • Endometrial biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of endometrial cancer
      • a small sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is obtained to be analyzed at under a microscope.
    • Transvaginal pelvic ultrasound
      • Sound waves are used to to create images of the uterus and can show endometrial thickness. A thick endometrium can be a sign of cancer in postmenopausal women. Ultrasound also can help show whether cancer has grown into the uterine muscle.
    • Hysteroscopy
      • Allows visualization of the inside of the uterus and endometrial tissue sampling.
    • Dilation and curettage (D&C)
      • Done to obtain a sample of tissue from the inside of the uterus. It may be done at the same time as a hysteroscopy.

Tests to see if the cancer has spread

  • If cancer is found, surgery is done for cancer staging and grading and as well as to treat it at the same time.
  • Imaging tests such as CT Scan or MRI may be done to see if cancer has spread to the abdomen and pelvis as this will aid with planning for treatment

Early detection

  • No routine screening test for endometrial cancer.
  • The American Cancer Society advises women who are nearing menopause to learn about the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer.
    • Women are advised to report to their doctors any unexpected bleeding or spotting or unusual vaginal discharge.
    • Women at risk for Lynch syndrome are advised to get checked every year starting at age 35. Having this risk also means a high risk of getting ovarian and/or uterine cancer.
  • High-risk women who have no pregnancy plans can avoid these cancers by having the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries removed.

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

  • Medicines, such as chemotherapy or progestin hormone therapy, may be given after surgery for endometrial cancer. Treatment depends on the stage and grade of the cancer and the risk for the cancer to spread or recur.

Medicine choices

  • Progestin hormone therapy may be used if your cancer has come back or spread or you are unable to have surgery or radiation therapy. May also be done if you are a young woman with early-stage cancer and you want the option of becoming pregnant in the future.
  • Chemotherapy is used alone or in combination. Examples include:

Medicines to help with side effects

  • Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy but are usually temporary and stop with cessation of treatment. Medicines to help relieve nausea may be prescribed.

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