How To Treat Uterine Cancer

 Understanding Cancer of the Uterus: How Uterine Cancer is Treated?

Uterine Cancer
How to treat uterine cancer

Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in the United States, affecting more than 66,000 people every year. If you are among the vulnerable population for uterine cancer, being mindful of its symptoms and the various risk factors can help lead to an early diagnosis and favorable outcome.

What Is Uterine Cancer? 

Uterine cancer is a category of gynecological cancer that develops in the uterus. It appears to have an association with one's balance of estrogen and progesterone, with increased estrogen exposure being a risk factor. 

Uterine cancer comprises two types of cancers: endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. Endometrial cancer begins in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus. It is the more common of the two uterine cancers, contributing to more than 90% of cases. In general, it is also the less aggressive cancer. If localized, it has a five-year survival rate of 96%. However, Black women are likelier to be diagnosed with more aggressive forms of endometrial cancer, resulting in a lower survival rate of 64%

Uterine sarcoma begins in the myometrium, the outer layer of muscle tissue that composes much of the uterus. While it is rare, contributing to only 2% to 5% of uterine cancers, it is normally faster to grow and spread than endometrial cancer. 

Uterine cancer, like other cancers, occurs in stages that indicate its severity:

  • Stage I: The cancer is localized to the uterus. 
  • Stage II: The cancer has spread from the uterus to the tissues around the cervix but nowhere else.
  • Stage III: The cancer has spread beyond the uterus but remains within the pelvic area.
  • Stage IV: The cancer has spread to other organs.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

Both endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma have certain signs and symptoms in common, namely:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding: The bleeding associated with uterine cancer may vary, from watery to streaky to voluminous. Such bleeding is abnormal if it's inordinately prolonged, heavy, or frequent, as well as if it occurs between periods, during menopause, or after menopause. Postmenopausal spotting would also qualify as abnormal bleeding.
  • Vaginal discharge: Watch for a thin discharge, white or clear in color.
  • Pain: Lower abdominal or pelvic pain may be a cause for concern.

Risk Factors for Uterine Cancer

Several factors can contribute to a higher risk of developing uterine cancer, including:

  • Family history: Certain genetic disorders are associated with uterine cancer, such as Lynch syndrome and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.
  • Age: Your risk for uterine cancer increases with age. 
  • Diet: A diet high in fat may increase your risk of cancer in general.
  • Medical conditions: Diabetes and obesity are known risk factors for uterine cancer. Ovarian tumors may also increase one's risk.
  • Medical history: Early menarche, late menopause, and longer menstruation spans are risk factors because they indicate a longer exposure to estrogen. People who have never been pregnant, have undergone estrogen-replacement therapy, have received radiation therapy to the pelvis, or have used the breast cancer drug tamoxifen are at higher risk of uterine cancer as well.
  • Other: One risk factor that doesn't fall under other common categories is the use of chemical hair-straightening products, also known as relaxers. Some studies suggest a potential link between frequent use of such products and the development of endometriosis, fibroids, breast cancer, and uterine cancer. Manufacturers of chemical hair straighteners are facing lawsuits as a result.

Treatment Options for Uterine Cancer

The recommended treatment for a particular case depends on the type of uterine cancer one has, the stage of one's cancer progression, one's personal and medical history, and one's treatment preferences, to name a few factors. Broadly speaking, though, the treatment options for uterine cancer are as follows:

  • Surgery: A surgeon will remove the tumor and possibly some surrounding tissue. Typically, the surgical procedure will be a hysterectomy or lymph node removal.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy involves the use of targeted beams of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Often, radiation therapy follows surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of chemical agents that can destroy cancer cells. Such drugs prevent cancer cells from growing and proliferating. Chemotherapy, too, often follows surgery.
  • Hormone therapy: With hormone therapy, the patient receives hormones that slow the growth of cancer cells. For uterine cancer, the hormone in question is often progesterone. 
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy involves the use of medication to enhance one's immune system, improving its ability to target cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is another medicated treatment. The medications in question target cancer cells, keeping them from multiplying.

Keep in mind that uterine cancer doesn't always express itself with the symptoms discussed here, nor are such symptoms a certain indication of uterine cancer. If you suspect that you have uterine cancer, your best course of action is to seek evaluation by a physician. Early detection can lead to favorable outcomes. Regular screening as well as personal vigilance are essential for a positive prognosis.

The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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