There is no one place in your body where cancer does not attack. Today we are going to discuss uterine cancer that is the sixth most commonly occurring cancer among women. There are two specific types of uterine cancer: endometrial carcinoma and uterine carcinoma. Endometrial carcinoma is the most common type and accounts for 95% of uterine cancers.
According to statistics put forward by the World Cancer Research Fund, there are over 380,000 cases of endometrial cancer in 2018.
Causes of uterine cancer
The most important risk factor of uterine cancer is due to estrogen. The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium and the hormone estrogen stimulates it to grow. A woman who has high levels of estrogen in the body is an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Older women are at the highest risk of developing this form of cancer. It has been found that about 95% of the cases of endometrial cancer occur in menopausal women over the age of 40.
This is also another risk factor that can be attributed to endometrial cancer. Estrogen is produced more if women have fatty tissues in excess. Overweight women are 3-10 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women with average weight.
(Know more about Childhood Obesity )
Early menstrual cycle
In each menstrual cycle, estrogen is produced and doctors believe that women who have started their menstrual cycle are at a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer in the future rather than women who began menstruating a couple of years later. Pregnancy is also believed to reduce the risk of this cancer.
Estrogen supplements are also known as hormone replacement therapy and they may slightly increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Symptoms of Uterine cancer
For some women having uterine cancer, they have no symptoms at all until the disease has metastasized.
- Post-menopausal bleeding – It is highly abnormal to have bleeding after menopause. And uterine cancer normally strikes women above 55 years of age. So if you have bleeding after going into your menopause, it can be an eye-catching symptom that you should never ignore at any cost. David Mutch, MD, a gynecologic oncology surgeon at Siteman Cancer Center and chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis explains further saying that the bleeding may initially begin as a watery, blood-streaked flow but gradually contain more blood as cancer progresses.
9 out of 10 cases of uterine cancer have their first symptoms as bleeding. Barring abnormal bleeding there is usually no such early warning sign or symptom for uterine cancer.
As cancer starts getting advanced, many more symptoms start appearing:
- Thick, brown, foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Painful urination and changes in bowel habits
- Enlarged uterus and swelling of the abdomen
- Pain during sex
- Unexpected weight loss
- Pelvic pain
- Weakness in back and legs
Uterine cancer is most often caught in its initial development stage and hence has high chances of being cured. Abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding after menopause should ring an alarm and you should visit a doctor at the earliest.