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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:
- Pain in the abdomen, lower back and especially the pelvic area.
- Pain during urination,
- Weight loss without any apparent reason
- Vaginal bleeding with or without discharge
- 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 bladder 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.