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Cancer, be it in any part of the body, has an increased success rate of cure and survival, when it is diagnosed early. The same is true with uterine cancer, the most common form of female reproductive cancer. However, unfortunately, a limited section of the society is aware of the necessary information about this fatal disorder, which is incidentally treatable if caught at early stages. To help the cause, here is a brief note on what one should be aware of when it comes to uterine cancer.
What is uterine cancer?
Cancer which begins at the tissue lining of the uterus also referred to as the endometrium, is called uterine or endometrial cancer which occurs due to the abnormal growth of the cells that can invade the other parts of the body. Some people tend to confuse this with uterine sarcomas which start developing when there is cancer growth in the muscles and other supporting tissues in the uterus. Also, uterine sarcomas account for a small percentage of cancers in the uterus.
Who are at higher risk of being affected with uterine cancer?
It is presumed that post-menopausal women are at a higher risk of being affected by uterine cancer. The average women diagnosed with the disease is 60 years. It is very uncommon in women who are aged below 45 years, and the causes are not yet precisely known.
While menopausal and post-menopausal women are at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer, it is crucial to understand that women who don’t belong to any of the risk groups may also be diagnosed with the disease due to other factors such as obesity or hormone therapy for breast cancer.
What are the most common symptoms of uterine cancer?
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, which means bleeding after menopause or between periods, is the most common symptom of uterine cancer. Typically, the bleeding begins as a form of watery blood-streaked discharge that becomes bloodier with the passage of time.
Other signs and symptoms of uterine cancer include:
- Difficulty or painful sensation while passing urine
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Prolonged and heavy episodes of vaginal bleeding
- Thin and white vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Feeling heaviness in the pelvic area
According to experts, a woman who undergoes any of these signs and symptoms should not ignore the condition and seek medical attention immediately. But it is important to note that these symptoms can indicate something more serious or less severe. You should always check with your doctor to know what’s bothering your body.
The good news is that endometrial or uterine cancer is treatable and there are several options for treatment when the diagnosis is made at an early stage. Treatment methods involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or surgical removal of the uterus depending on the particular scenario. To conclude, it can be said that being aware of the condition can help you in dealing with it. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Chemotherapy has been the remedy for cancer since the late 90s. But in today’s world the medical field has been improved so much that new methods have been invented. One of them is Hormonal therapy. It is used to cure some types of breast cancer that are affected by hormones. Receptor proteins in the breast cancer cells attach to estrogen and help the cells grow. This therapy stops the receptors attaching to estrogen in various ways.
When it is used?
Hormonal breast cancer therapy is performed after surgery to prevent the cancer from coming back. It is also applied to treat the cancer that has come back or to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. Sometimes, if needed, it starts before the surgery. It takes five years, generally.
How it works?
Hormonal therapy mainly stops estrogen from acting on the cancer cells or lowers the estrogen level. There are different ways to do that.
- Blocking Estrogen Receptors: These drugs stop estrogen from helping breast cancer cells.
- Tamoxifen: It acts as anti-estrogen in the breast cells, but acts like estrogen in other cells. It lowers the risk of breast cancer and also stops cancer from coming back.
- Toremifene: It works in a similar way, but it is only used in metastatic breast cancer. It also decreases the pain and swelling in the muscles and bones.
- Fulvestrant: It blocks and damages estrogen receptors. It is given by injections after other drugs stop working.
- Lowering Estrogen Levels: These drugs slow the growth of cancer by lowering estrogen levels.
- Aromatase Inhibitors: These drugs stop estrogen production in women whose ovaries are not working due to menopause or other treatments. There are three types of this drug- Letrozole, Anastrozole and Exemestane.
- Ovarian Suppression: In this method, ovaries are removed or shut down to turn pre-menopausal women to post-menopausal. There are several ways to do this, and they are- Oophorectomy or surgery, LHRH analogs and applying chemotherapy drugs.
There are some other types of hormone therapy that are less common. They were used more in the past. They are:
- Megestrol acetate
- High doses of estrogen
Unfortunately, Hormonal breast cancer therapy has lots of side effects. They are-
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vagina discharge or dryness
- Developing uterine cancer
- Blood clots
- Night sweat
- Mild nausea
- Bone pain
- Injection site pain
- Muscle pain and joint stiffness and pain
- Bone thinning
Although hormonal therapy has lots of side effects, they are limited to different kinds of hormonal therapies and it is not necessary that they will surely happen. But it is best to undergo any kind of treatment with a doctor’s advice. So patients should consult the doctor first. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Hello, My father is diabetic and has been diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma Penis. Doctor says it isn't genetic. However, I have doubts and would prefer undergoing Cancer Screening Tests. What tests are suggested?
Sir please tell me why I am getting pain in my breasts I am still unmarried age 29 please tell me why I am feeling pain in my both sides since a week is it normal or abnormal.
Hello My age is 44 years I'm a female what test should I get done to know if I have alignment like cancer etc.
Detecting a lump on your breasts can be stressful for any women. Breast cancer is a common type of cancer and is said to affect primarily affect women though 1% of breast cancer cases affect men. Breast cancer can be categorized into different types based on their capability to affect surrounding tissues.
The most common amongst these are:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Invasive lobular carcinoma
Breast cancer is caused by mutations of a person’s DNA cells. This could be inherited from one’s parents or acquired by an unhealthy lifestyle. These DNA mutations cause cells in the breast tissue to multiply rapidly and turn cancerous. The risk factors for breast cancer can be categorized as modifiable and non-modifiable.
Modifiable risk factors:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of combined hormone therapy after menopause
- Lack of exercise
Non-modifiable risk factors:
- Family Medical History
- Personal Medical History
- Atypical hyperplasia
- Early start of menstruation cycle
- Presence of dense breast tissue
- Inherited genetic mutations
As with any other type of cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. In its early stages, breast cancer is not painful and has negligible symptoms. In most cases, it is detected only by finding a lump on the breast or through a mammography. This lump may also be present in the armpit or above the collar bone. Some of the other symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Nipple inversion
- Discharge from the nipples
- Changes in the colour and texture of skin covering the breast
Breast cancer has five stages beginning from 0 and going up to 4. This is based on the size of the tumour, involvement of lymph nodes and whether or not metastasis has occurred.
- Stage 0: At this stage, the tumour does not affect the lymph nodes and has not metastasized. Thus at this stage, it is noninvasive.
- Stage I: In this case the tumour is smaller than 2 cm in diameter and has not spread to any of the surrounding tissues.
- Stage II: In this stage, the cancerous tumours are still fairly small in size but also affect the surrounding lymph nodes.
- Stage III: These tumours are larger than 5 cm in diameter and involve the lymph nodes to a greater extent.
- Stage IV: This is also known as metastatic breast cancer. In this stage, the cancer cells metastasize to other parts of the body.
Surgery is the most preferred form of treatment for breast cancer. This may be combined with radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy depending on the stage and type of cancer, the patient's overall health, age and personal preferences. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!