Uterine Cancer

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Uterus is a pear shaped pelvic organ in females and uterine cancer is defined as a Cancer that develops in tissues of the uterus. There are 2 kinds of uterine cancer: Endometrial cancer – involves the cells in the lining of uterus and Uterine sarcoma which is a rare cancer and involves the tissue of uterus.

Uterine cancer

Risk Factors of Uterine Cancer

Even though, it’s not clear, what actually causes uterine cancer hormonal imbalance is considered to be the main cause. A lot of researches are taking place to link other risk factors. Genetic factor, obesity, early menstruation, alcohol consumption, some drugs like tamoxifen, PCOS and age might have quite significance in diagnosis. [1]

Signs and symptoms of Uterine Cancer

Both, endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma, exhibit a similar vignette of symptoms that are used for further testing

  • Post menopause Vaginal bleeding
  • Bleeding between periods
  • An abnormal, watery or blood-tinged discharge from your vagina
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse

In advanced stages, pain in legs, pelvis, back, nausea and vomiting may also be seen. [2]

Tests and Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer

There are no specific tests yet diagnosed for diagnosing uterine sarcoma and most commonly confused PAP smear, is used for cervical cancer detection and not for uterine sarcoma.

Commonly used methods for diagnosis are:

Physical examination is still a good old method to get an idea.  To support the findings of physical examination, imaging tests like transvaginal ultrasound are used. A scope examination, could give a doctor a better image and idea about the disease. If any doubts, a tissue sample is obtained and biopsy is performed for confirmation and staging.

Staging of Uterine Cancer

Staging refers to determining the extent  of a cancer and helps doctor choose the best course of treatment.

To determine the extents in addition to earlier mentioned tests doctor can use MRI(Magnetic resonance Imaging),  CT( Computed Tomography) and PAP smear(sometimes).

According to the National Cancer Institute, in the majority of uterine cancers the uterus is removed so that staging can be done. The pathologist checks to see how deeply the tumor has grown and whether other tissue samples from the uterus have cancer cells, all done with help of gross and microscopic examination. [3]

  • Stage 0 – Carcinoma in situ, i.e. the cancerous cells remain on the surface of the inner lining of the uterus, in the place where they were first formed
  • Stage I– Cancer has spread through the inner lining of the uterus to the endometrium and maybe myometrium
  • Stage II– Cervix has tumor and cancerous cells.
  • Stage III– extra uterine invasion in the tissue, including the vagina or a lymph node.
  • Stage IV– Farther spread of cancer to the bladder or intestine, and possibly to other parts of the body, such as bones, liver, or lungs.

Treatment and management of Uterine Cancer

The treatment usually depends on staging, and other characteristics of cancer, patient’s health and preferences.

Doctors usually prefer surgery which has hysterectomy as in removal of uterus. Further, it’ll be followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy and hormone therapy depending on the cancer.

Radiotherapy can be from a machine outside the body called external beam or from inside the body called brachytherapy.

Uterine cancer usually has a very bad prognosis. Bariatric surgery can decrease the occurrence of cancer by 81%. [4]



[1] http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary?cdrid=445094

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uterine_sarcoma

[3] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometrial-cancer/basics/treatment/con-20033696

[4] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/274469.php