Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium. Endometrial cancer can affect any woman. That’s why it’s so important to understand what this cancer can look like, how it can begin, and how it might be treated. Given how the symptoms of endometrial cancer can often be misdiagnosed, it’s helpful to research this information online before consulting a doctor.
What Causes Endometrial Cancer?
Endometrial cancer occurs when cells within the inner lining of the uterus begin growing at an uncontrolled rate. These out-of-control cells can form tumors, and that in turn can lead to symptoms and the spread of the cancer to other areas of the body.
However, doctors aren’t certain what causes endometrial cancer. Certain factors can increase a woman’s risk of endometrial cancer. In particular, two hormones seem to be at play when endometrial cancer occurs: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones and their receptors seem to play some role in the development of cancer within the uterus.
Risk Factors of Endometrial Cancer
And doctors have identified certain risk factors that can make you more likely to develop endometrial cancer. If you have any of these risk factors in your medical history or daily life, you may be at an increased risk:
- Being age 40 or older
- First period at an early or young age
- Experienced late menopause
- Live with diabetes or high blood pressure
- Eat a high-fat diet that includes a lot of red meat
- No children
- Experienced infertility, irregular periods, or endometrial hyperplasia
- Family history of endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, or breast cancer
- Taken certain medications or hormone replacement therapy
Early Signs to Watch For
When endometrial cancer first begins, it can be very difficult to know it’s present. This type of cancer can actually present no symptoms in some women – in these cases, symptoms only appear once the cancer has spread.
But in other cases, endometrial cancer can be detected in early stages. Typically, this is possible when symptoms are present. The tricky part is that symptoms may go ignored. Some might seem like other, more common health concerns.
Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer
If you’re worried about endometrial cancer, you need to pay attention to your body. Sudden changes or new body behaviors may be a sign or symptom. Specifically, you’ll want to look for these common symptoms of endometrial cancer:
- Vaginal bleeding, usually as atypically heavy periods or bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after menopause
- Vaginal discharge that might range from pink and watery to thick, brown, and foul-smelling
- Pelvic pain
- Pain when urinating, or difficulty urinating
Other common symptoms might not seem directly related to endometrial cancer, such as unexplained weight loss and weakness or pain in the abdomen, back or legs. These symptoms might be a sign that the cancer is in a later stage. Make sure to note any changes to your health or body and discuss them with your doctor.
Treating Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer, once diagnosed, is treatable. And treatment can be very successful. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for those with localized endometrial cancer is 95 percent. If you have endometrial cancer, your doctor will determine what stage your cancer is at and what the best course of treatment is.
- Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer that hasn’t spread. A total hysterectomy is the most successful option. Any lymph nodes, tissues, or other organs that are suspicious or cancerous may also be removed.
- Radiation or Chemotherapy: Along with surgery, patients may undergo radiation or/and chemotherapy. These treatments help eliminate all remaining cancer cells throughout the body.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: In some cases where endometrial cancer is widespread throughout the body, hormone replacement therapy may also be considered.
Make sure to discuss all of your options with your doctor. With information about the stage and location of your cancer, your doctor will be able to give you the best guidance. You can discuss what steps to take and which treatments have the best odds of success.
Learn More About Endometrial Cancer Today!
To gain a deeper understanding of endometrial cancer, its causes, symptoms, and treatment strategies, continue your exploration online. The more you know about this condition, the better equipped you’ll be to recognize potential signs, make informed decisions about your health, or support someone you care about who may be affected.
So, don’t stop here—there’s a wealth of valuable information available to help you stay informed about endometrial cancer and its management. Keep seeking knowledge to empower yourself and those around you in the fight against this disease.