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Endometrial Cancer Fact Sheet

From the GYN Cancer Articles List

Endometrial Cancer Fact SheetWhat do I need to know about endometrial/uterine cancer?


Description
Endometrial cancer, a type of uterine cancer, is cancer of the uterine lining, or endometrium. It begins when cells in the endometrium multiply out of control. They may invade the muscle of the uterus and sometimes spread to other organs and lymph nodes. Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer. Most cases occur after menopause.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Obesity, hypertension, and diabetes are risk factors for developing endometrial cancer. Other risk factors include using estrogen without progesterone, tamoxifen use, and late menopause. Childlessness also seems to be a contributing factor. Keeping blood sugar and blood pressure under control may help lower a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, as can exercising, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.

There is no routine screening test for endometrial cancer. If a woman has extremely heavy bleeding during menstruation or any bleeding after menopause, an endometrial biopsy or D&C should be performed.

Symptoms
Symptoms of endometrial cancer include bleeding after menopause, or irregular or heavy bleeding in younger women. Other symptoms might include painful urination, pain during sexual intercourse, or generalized pelvic pain.

Prognosis
As with all cancers, the earlier uterine cancer is detected, the better the outcome is likely to be. There is a wide range of stages and grades of endometrial cancer, so the prognosis depends on each woman’s diagnosis and how aggressively the medical team treats it. Prognosis is determined by the stage of the cancer, how the cancer cells look under a microscope, and whether the cancer cells are affected by progesterone.

Treatment
Treatment options include surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy. Surgery to treat endometrial cancer will most likely involve a total hysterectomy. A radical hysterectomy will be recommended if the cancer has spread beyond the uterus. Radiation therapy might be in the form of external pelvic radiation or internal radiation. Hormones can cause cancer cells to grow and multiply, so hormone therapy is meant to block hormonal action and thereby shrink or stop uncontrolled cellular growth in the endometrium.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-28-2011 - 01:15 AM


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Lauren Streicher, M.D.
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