Uterine cancer kills many women these days and the symptoms are very difficult to diagnose in the early stages of the cancer. Women who have had menopause are more at risk and certain risk factors that make you prone to the disease include use of tamoxifen, obesity, endometriosis, hormone replacement therapy etc.
Symptoms Of Uterine Cancer
The most common and identifiable symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding at the time of intercourse, in between periods or after periods. In menopausal women, there would be abnormal bleeding which is not connected to menstruation.
Pain during intercourse, painful urination, abdominal swelling and bloating, feeling of pressure inside the lower abdomen etc. must be carefully noted and checked before the symptoms advance to a stage which is uncontrollable.
Diagnosis Of Uterine Cancer
A physical examination of the pelvic region is the first method of diagnosis to assess if something is wrong with the patient. During a pelvic examination, the doctor will feel the abdomen and the cervix for any growing mass.
The uterus, bladder an rectum would be felt by the doctor to see if there is any lymph node inflammation or tumour growth that can be externally assessed. If the doctor feels that there is something wrong, he/she will ask for specific tests that can be done to confirm the condition.
Pap test is normally done for ascertaining the risk of cervical cancer. Undergoing a Pap test will not help you diagnose uterine cancer. But it will help in finding out any initial abnormality that must be suspected as the presence of cancer. If an abnormality is present, your doctor will ask you to go for more tests that will confirm the presence of cancerous cells.
Uterine cancer starts in the endometrium which is the lining of the uterus. Conducting a biopsy of the endometrial lining will help the doctor analyse the live cells and look for cancerous growths in them. This is the best way to confirm the presence of uterine cancer.
Ultrasounds are harmless and hence taking a transvaginal ultrasound is the safest way to analyse the size of the tumour and the extent of the spread. Transvaginal ultrasound is done through the vagina and hence the images that are generated are clear and can help the doctor understand the extent of the spread and also size of the tumour.
Treatment methods involved are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The success of the treatment depends on many factors like age of the patient, stage of cancer, extent of the spread and the patient’s immune system response to the medications. Most early stages of uterine cancer can be treated successfully and many women go on to live for many years. But there are also others who have not been so lucky and have been diagnosed late.
Uterine cancer can be completely cured if diagnosed early. All women over the age of fifty must therefore be very careful to check for early symptoms and report anything that is out of the ordinary.