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Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It is one of the most common gynecological cancers in women.

Here is an overview of uterine cancer, including its cause, symptoms, prevalence, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis:

– Prevalence

Uterine cancer is one of the most common gynecological cancers in women. The prevalence of uterine cancer varies by region and is more common in developed countries. The incidence of uterine cancer has been increasing in recent years, in part due to rising rates of obesity.

Cause

The exact cause of uterine cancer is not fully understood, but several risk factors have been identified:

Hormonal Imbalance

Most cases of uterine cancer are associated with an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, with an excess of estrogen. Estrogen can stimulate the growth of the endometrial lining, increasing the risk of cancer over time.

Obesity

Obesity is a significant risk factor for uterine cancer, as fat tissue can produce excess estrogen.

Endometrial Hyperplasia

Precancerous changes in the endometrial tissue, known as endometrial hyperplasia, can increase the risk of uterine cancer.

Age

Uterine cancer is more common in postmenopausal women, with the majority of cases diagnosed in women over 50.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Long-term use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) without progestin can increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women.

Hereditary Factors

A small percentage of uterine cancer cases are linked to genetic mutations, such as Lynch syndrome.

Symptoms

Uterine cancer may present with the following symptoms:

  1. Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding: The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as postmenopausal bleeding, spotting between periods, or heavier-than-usual menstrual bleeding.
  2. Pelvic Pain: Pelvic pain or discomfort may occur, especially in advanced stages.
  3. Pelvic Pressure: Some individuals may experience a sensation of pelvic fullness or pressure.
  4. Painful Intercourse: Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing uterine cancer typically involves several steps:

Medical History

A healthcare provider will inquire about symptoms, medical history, and risk factors.

Physical Examination

A pelvic examination may be performed to assess the uterus and surrounding structures.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

This imaging test can help visualize the thickness of the endometrial lining and detect any abnormalities.

Endometrial Biopsy

A biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of endometrial tissue for laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

In some cases, a D&C may be performed to obtain a larger tissue sample for analysis.

Imaging

CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans may be used to assess the extent of cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment

Surgery

Surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) is the primary treatment for uterine cancer. Lymph nodes may also be removed for staging purposes.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be used before or after surgery to target and destroy cancer cells.

 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or stop their growth. It may be used in advanced or aggressive cases.

Hormone Therapy

In certain cases, hormone therapy may be recommended to block the effects of estrogen on cancer cells.

– Prognosis

The prognosis for uterine cancer varies depending on the stage at which it is diagnosed and treated. When detected at an early stage (confined to the uterus), the prognosis is generally favorable, with a high chance of cure. However, in advanced stages, the prognosis becomes less favorable.

Regular gynecological check-ups, awareness of symptoms, and early medical evaluation are crucial for the early detection and treatment of uterine cancer. As with many cancers, early intervention can lead to better outcomes and a higher chance of long-term survival.

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