Endometrial cancer is simply a cancer in women’s womb (uterus). It predominantly affects women over 50 years of age. It has a peak incidence between 60 to 70 years of age. Compared to ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer has a good prognosis. Because the symptoms occur early. There are several causes of endometrial cancer.
Causes of Endometrial Cancer
Estrogen is the major cause for endometrial cancer. Estrogen, or oestrogen, is the primary female sex hormone. It is responsible for the many functions of female body. But the dark side is that prolonged exposure to estrogen is a risk factor for endometrial cancer. So, any event causes exposure to estrogen is a risk factor.
Here are some causes and risk factors:
Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome
Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is kind of hormonal disorder. It’s common among females in their reproductive age. Women may have irregular periods, acne and increased body hair. Symptoms are due to elevated androgens. However their estrogen levels also get elevated. So it may lead to an endometrial cancer.
Estrogen producing ovarian tumor
These are some rare cancers. They occur mainly in ovaries. And they secrete estrogen.
Many studies suggest that diabetes is a risk factor for endometrial cancer.
Obesity is another risk factor. Because they have a high amount of fat. It increases the production of estrogen. So it’s better to reduce your weight.
Genetics play a major role here. If there is a family history of endometrial cancer, the risk is high. And also there are familial cancer syndromes.
After the menopause women usually takes hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There are estrogen only hormone replacement treatments. But they have a risk of endometrial cancers.
Apart from above risk factors there are some protective factors for endometrial cancer. If a woman has more children it’s protective. Combined contraceptive pills and smoking are also protective factors.
Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer
Vaginal bleeding after menopause is common. But it’s not the only symptom of endometrial cancer. Sometimes they may have pain in lower abdomen. Other symptoms are vaginal discharge and loss of appetite.
Investigations of Endometrial Cancer
Compared to other cancers in women endometrial cancers can be detected early. Here are some investigations;
Endometrial sampling, or Pipell biopsy, is an out patient procedure. Many countries do this investigation as first line. However, it’s easy to do and no need any preparations of the patient. As there are many causes of endometrial cancer, many countries need a cost effective way to detect endometrial cancers. So Pipell biopsy is the choice.
Dilatation and curettage under general anesthesia
This one is a blind procedure. But it’s still done in many countries.
Hysteroscopy and biopsy
This is the gold standard investigation of endometrial cancer.
Treatment of Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer is affecting the women’s uterus. So treatments depends on the degree of involvement of uterus and other structures.
So if anyone having symptoms of endometrial cancer better to meet your doctor early. Because early detection is good.
Endometrial sampling or biopsy report will decide the treatment option. Here are some treatment options of endometrial cancer.
- Medical treatment – using some hormones.
Finally the treatment method will be decided by your doctor.