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The uterus is a very important organ within the human reproductive system as this is the chamber where an embryo grows into a baby. Due to a multitude of factors, the incidence of uterine cancer has been on the rise. Let's look at some of its symptoms.
Symptoms of uterine cancer
When cells within the uterus grow abnormally and turn malignant, it may be termed as uterine cancer. This may be in the form of a fibroid or tumor or be part of the uterine tissue itself. It may be caused due to a multitude of factors such as late menopause, radiation exposure, estrogen treatments and many others. Some of the common symptoms for uterine cancer could be:
a. Pain in the abdomen, lower back and especially the pelvic area.
b. Pain during urination,
c. Weight loss without any apparent reason
d. Vaginal bleeding with or without discharge
e. Pain during sex
Stages of uterine cancer:
Before we understand the stages of uterine cancer you need to know how doctors diagnose the various stages. This is done by the three following steps in the TNM method:
Tumor - Doctors try and search for tumors and locate them within the uterus, estimate its size and whether it is malignant or not.
Node - If the tumor is malignant, then doctors try to find out whether the tumor has reached the lymph nodes or not.
Metastasis - Doctors look for Metastasis which is whether the cancer has spread to other organs within the body and to what extent.
Stages of cancer - Cancer is primarily grouped in five stages from 0 to V according to the T, N and M stages mentioned below.
Stage 0 - This is a very early stage of cancer where the cells have malignant growth but are still small in number and haven't spread anywhere.
Stage I - If the cancer has developed a little but is restricted within the uterus, it is considered as stage one. This is also further divided into Stage 1A and 1B.
Stage II - When the cancer has started spreading but only to some parts of the cervix from the uterus, it is diagnosed as stage 2 uterine cancer.
Stage III - Categorized into Stage IIIA, Stage IIIB, Stage IIIC1 and Stage IIIC2, it is primarily where the cancer has spread to other organs but it is only limited to the pelvic area.
Stage IV A - When the cancer has gone beyond the pelvic area and also spread to the rectum and balder area.
Stage IV B - This is where the cancer has metastasized in the groin area or gone to other organs within the body as well.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I have slipped disk and doctors told me to get admitted and I have another option to go to the bone setter what should I do?
I have taken MRI cervical spine .I have disc BULGES in C3-C4, C4-C5 and L5-S1. Please explain what might be the problem. This BULGES gives which type of problems. Please help me.
We have more than 200 bones in our body and each of them is susceptible to bone cancer. However, long bones in the arms and legs are most susceptible to this condition. Bone cancer can be primary or secondary. Primary bone cancer involves uncontrolled and abnormal cell division within the bones while secondary bone cancer refers to cancer that originated somewhere else in the body and later spread to the bones. While children and adults are equally at risk for primary bone cancer, adults and elderly people are more susceptible to secondary bone cancer. If diagnosed early enough, bone cancer can be treated and even cured with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Hence it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of bone cancer. Here’s what you should look out for.
- Pain in Bones: Pain is one the primary symptoms of bone cancer. As the tumour grows larger, this pain can become more intense. In its early stages, the pain may be experienced as a dull ache inside the bone or the affected part of the body. It may also increase or decrease according to your activity level or may be experienced only at night. However, not all bone pains signify ‘cancer’ as this is also a symptom associated with osteoporosis.
- Swelling: In some cases, the abnormal growth of bone cells can result in the formation of a lump of mass that may be felt through the skin. In other cases, the affected area may also show signs of swelling.
- Breaking of the Bone: Cancer can weaken the bones and make them more brittle. This may make the bones more susceptible to fractures. A bone breaking in an area that has been painful or sore for a long period of time may be a sign of cancer. This is known as a pathologic fracture.
- Reduced Flexibility: If the tumour is located near a joint, it may affect the range of movements possible and make simple actions uncomfortable. For example, a tumour around the knee may make walking and climbing stairs a painful exercise.
Other symptoms to look out for are sudden and drastic weight loss, tiredness, excessive sweating at night, fever and difficulty breathing in case cancer has spread to other organs. Since many of these symptoms are common to other medical disorders, you should consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of them. A physical examination and a couple of tests along with a biopsy will be required to confirm a diagnosis of bone cancer.
Fibroid tumour is the abnormal cell growth in the uterus and they are mostly benign. Fibroids usually affect women in the age bracket of 30 - 40. Fibroid tumours are of three types, depending on their location:
- Submucosal fibroids: The tumour develops under the lining of the uterus
- Intramural fibroids: The growth is found amongst the muscles in the wall of the uterus
- Subserosal fibroids: The growth develops on the wall of the uterus right in the pelvic cavity
Causes behind it
The exact cause of fibroids in not known clearly. But certain factors have been discovered that might influence their formation. These factors include:
- Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen are the hormones responsible for recreating the uterine lining during every menstrual cycle. These hormones might trigger the formation of tumour.
- Family history: If any member in your family; your mother, grandmother or sister has/had fibroids in their uterus, you may also develop it.
- Pregnancy: Your body produces excessive progesterone and estrogen when you are pregnant, which may cause an increase in the size of a pre-existing small fibroid. Myomectomy can be done by giving incision on the abdomen or by laparoscopy depending on the size and location of the fibroids.
Signs You are suffering from it
- Heavy bleeding along with blood clots during or between your periods
- Lower back or pelvic pain
- Elevated menstrual cramping
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sex
- Longer than normal periods
- Bloating or pressure in lower abdomen
- Enlargement or swelling of the abdomen
How it can be treated?
Your doctor will formulate the right treatment depending on your age, the mass of the fibroids and your overall health. Your doctor may choose a combination of treatment to cure your fibroids, and they include:
- Medication: Gonadotropin releasing hormones (GnRH) agonists, birth control pills and ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory medicine) are prescribed. GnRH agonists reduce the level of progesterone and estrogen in your uterus.
- Surgery: Myomectomy and hysterectomy are two common surgical procedures to treat fibroids. Myomectomy is performed by removing the fibroids only by making an incision on the abdomen. But hysterectomy completely removes the uterus. The latter is reserved for serious cases.
- Non-invasive surgery: Forced ultrasound surgery, myolysis (shrinking fibroids with laser or electric current), cryomyolysis (fibroids are frozen) and endometrial ablation (an instrument uses heat, hot water, microwaves or electric current to destroy fibroids) are some non-invasive surgical procedures. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
I am 51 yrs. I am suffering from neck pain and headache last two years. My mri report says that c5-6 disc shows diffuse asymmetric bulge[more towards left side], causing effacement of anterior subarachnoid space and indentation of bilateral c6 nerve roots[left>>right]. Along with posterior osteophytes, it constitutes hard disc. What should I do? please help me.
Hello Doctor I have degenerative disc disease after a fall down a flight of stairs in 2013. I sometimes have difficulty in breathing while asleep at night and develop colds frequently, is this due to the lumbar fracture? Also is inability to fill bladder a symptom of disc injury? Thank you for your time Doctor.
Dear sir, I am suffering from disc slip since 10 years. I have consulted both allopathy and ayurveda doctors. Allopathy doctors are saying it is first grade disc, after some years I need to do an operation. But ayurvedic doctors are saying I do not have any problems with disc and backbone. They are saying I have high uric acid problem and ASO and I took panchakarma treatment. Panchakarama treatment is giving some relief from the pain, but I am not sure about the problem with the disc slip. Still I am feeling some stiffness with my lower back. I have taken an MRI and x-ray. But doctors are confusing me. Can you please suggest me what to do. Is there any permanent solution for disc slip and lower back stiffness. Please help me.
Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the breast. Mainly it occurs in females but less than 1% of all the breast cancer cases develop in males. The majority of breast cancers start in the milk ducts. A small number start in the milk sacs or lobules. It can spread to the lymph nodes and to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs and to the brain.
With more reliable early detection methods as well as the trend towards less invasive surgery, there is hope that even more women with breast cancer will be treated successfully and will go on to resume their normal lives.
Signs & Symptoms
It is painless, especially, during the early stage. Watch out for the following changes in the breast:
- A persistent lump or thickening in the breast or in the axilla.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A change in the colour or appearance of the skin of the breast such as redness, puckering or dimpling.
- Bloody discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the nipple or areola such as scaliness, persistent rash or nipple retraction (nipple pulled into the breast).
Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these changes.
Being a woman puts you at risk of getting breast cancer. There are certain factors that increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of them have been listed below:
- The risk increases with age; most cases of breast cancer develop after the age of 50
- Genetic alterations in certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Family history of breast cancer
- Being overweight
- Early menarche (onset of menstruation before the age of 12)
- Late menopause (after the age of 55)
- Never had children
- Late childbearing
- No breast feeding
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for a long period of time
However, most women who have breast cancer have none of the above risk factors. Likewise, not having any of these risk factors does not mean that you will not get breast cancer.
Early Detection and Screening
More treatment options are available when breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage and hence the chances of recovery is also higher. So regular breast screening is important for early detection even if there are no symptoms. Following are the ways of screening:
- Breast Self-Examination (BSE): Perform BSE once a month about a week after your menses are over. If you no longer menstruate, choose a date each month which is easy to remember e.g. your date of birth or anniversary.
- Clinical Breast Examination: Get a breast specialist to examine your breast once a year if you are 40 years and above.
- Mammogram: Go for a screening mammogram once a year if you are 40 to 49 years old and once every two years if you are 50 years and above even if you do not have any symptom. It is not recommended for younger women (less than 40 years of age) as they have dense breasts, making it difficult for small changes to be detected on a mammogram. So ultrasonography of the breasts is advisable to them.
Types of Breast cancer
- Non-Invasive Breast cancer: These are confined to the ducts within the breasts. They are known as Ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS).
- Invasive Breast cancer: It occurs when cancer cells spread beyond the ducts or lobules. Cancer cells first spread to the surrounding breast tissue and subsequently to the lymph nodes in the armpit (Axillary lymph nodes). These cells can also travel to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs or brain and hence known as metastatic breast cancer.
Making A Diagnosis
If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, you should see a doctor immediately. He will examine you clinically and may ask you to undergo some tests so that a definitive diagnosis can be made. Further, the staging work up is done to find out the stage of the disease and management accordingly.
Treatment of breast cancer may include various methods such as surgery with or without breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Treatment options offered, depend upon the number of factors such as the stage of cancer and likelihood of cure, your general health and your preference. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!