|Causes Of Uterine Cancer|
Cancer of the womb (uterus) is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It's also called uterine cancer and endometrial cancer. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of womb cancer.
If you have been through the menopause, any vaginal bleeding is considered abnormal. If you have not yet been through the menopause, unusual bleeding may include bleeding between your periods. You should see your GP as soon as possible if you experience any unusual vaginal bleeding. While it's unlikely to be caused by womb cancer, it's best to be sure.
Your GP will examine you and ask about your symptoms. They will refer you to a specialist for further tests if they suspect you may have a serious problem, or if they are unsure about a diagnosis.
Prevention Of Uterine Cancer
Different factors cause different types of cancer. Researchers continue to look into what factors cause this type of cancer. Although there is no proven way to completely prevent this disease, you may be able to lower your risk. Talk with your doctor for more information about your personal risk of cancer.
Research has shown that certain factors can lower the risk of uterine cancer:
- Taking birth control pills, especially over a long period of time
- Considering the risk of uterine cancer before starting HRT, especially estrogen replacement therapy alone. Using a combination approach to HRT may help lessen risk.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- If diabetic, maintaining good disease control such as regularly monitoring blood glucose levels
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer may include:
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Bleeding between periods
- An abnormal, watery or blood-tinged discharge from your vagina
- Pelvic pain
Causes Of Uterine Cancer
Doctors don't know what causes endometrial cancer. What's known is that something occurs to create a genetic mutation within cells in the endometrium — the lining of the uterus.
The genetic mutation turns normal, healthy cells into abnormal cells. Healthy cells grow and multiply at a set rate, eventually dying at a set time. Abnormal cells grow and multiply out of control, and they don't die at a set time. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor). Cancer cells invade nearby tissues and can separate from an initial tumor to spread elsewhere in the body (metastasize).
Treatment Protocols For Uterine Cancer
Treatment protocols for endometrial cancer are provided below, including the following :
1. General treatment recommendations for endometrial cancer
See the list below:
- Endometrial cancer is treated primarily with surgery, including hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, abdominopelvic washings, lymph node evaluation; advanced disease patients may be treated with maximal surgical cytoreduction
- There is no general agreement as to what constitutes the best chemotherapy, as very few phase III studies have been done comparing different chemotherapy regimens
- There are no guidelines or recommendations for second- and third-line therapy
- Salvage agents such as paclitaxel may be an option for second-line therapy in patients who have disease recurrence even after first-line chemotherapy
- Participating in a phase II study is encouraged
2. Treatment recommendations for limited disease
See the list below:
- Generally stage I endometrial cancer limited to the uterus, the recommended treatment is surgery
- Radiation therapy has proven to be effective and tolerated for patients that are not candidates for surgery whose disease is limited to the uterus
- Patients with suspected or gross cervical involvement who are candidates for surgery should be recommended radical hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy; cytology and dissection of pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes and inoperable patients should be treated with radiation therapy (75-80Gy to point A)
- Patients with suspected extra uterine disease should be evaluated through imaging studies (MRI or CT) or lab tests (CA 125 levels); if negative results return, treat patients as for disease limited to the uterus
- Patients with extrauterine pelvic disease should be treated with radiation therapy and brachytherapy with or without surgery and chemotherapy
3. Risk classification for patients with endometrial cancer
Patients with endometrial cancer can be stratified into treatment groups based upon the estimated risk of disease recurrence:
- Low risk: endometrioid cancers that are confined to the endometrium
- Intermediate risk: disease confined to the uterus but invades the myometrium, or demonstrates occult cervical stromal invasion; includes some patients with stage IA disease, stage IB disease, and a subset of patients with stage II disease
- High risk: includes gross involvement of the cervix (a subset of stage II disease; stage III or IV disease, regardless of grade; papillary serous or clear cell uterine tumors