“Uterine cancer accounted for 7 percent of all cancer cases

“Uterine cancer accounted for 7 percent of all cancer cases, and 4 percent of female cancer deaths. A woman’s odds of getting uterine cancer are 1 in 36 (EverydayHealth.com).” Uterine cancer is also referred to as endometrial cancer, as it occurs in the interior lining of the uterus or the endometrium. Other uterine cancers, such as sarcoma, cancer of the uterine muscle, do exist but are rare. The uterus itself is a hollow muscular organ, which carries out the fetal development of the fetus during pregnancy. It is also the organ associated with menstruation, as the same uterine lining or endometrium, expels each month when implantation of an embryo has not taken place.
Risk factors for uterine cancer vary. They include hyperplasia, hormonal changes, premature menses, usually before the age of 12 yrs. old, menopause occurring after the age of 55 yrs. old, obesity, having a metabolic syndrome, genes, pelvic exposure to radiation, estrogen therapy, taking tamoxifen (a common drug therapy used for breast cancer), and has a higher incidence in women who have never been pregnant. Unlike the cervix, located at the bottom of the uterus, it is not associated with HPV or Human Papilloma Virus. However, it is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause irregular ovulation, as well as an inherited colon cancer syndrome called Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer or HNPCC for short. One of the most common cancers affected women today is cervical cancer, usually squamous cell carcinoma of the endometrium. Interestingly, although it is considered the lower part of the urterus, cancer of the cervix is different from cancer of the uterus. While uterine cancers usually arise from endometrial cells, cervical cancer originates from the thin, flat cells on the surface of the cervix.
Common signs that can indicate the possible diagnosis of uterine cancer include abnormal bleeding, which is the most common sign, although can occur for other reasons as well. Other signs include vaginal discharge, pain with urination and /or sex, and generalized pelvic pain. Because of the most common sign, abnormal bleeding, uterine cancer is often detected early on as women are more likely to seek medical attention.
A diagnosis of uterine cancer is often detected through a pelvic exam, Pap smear, ultrasound, biopsy and sometimes imaging via a CAT scan or MRI.
Treatment depends on the stage of the disease and one or more options may be utilized. They include removal of the uterus, which can take care of the condition for some, removal of other affected tissues and/or organs such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.
Prognosis depends on various factors such as the stage of the disease, the microscopic appearance of the cancer cells and whether the cancer cells are affected by progesterone.
To determine the development of the cancer itself or its stage, further tests are performed. These may include a chest x-ray, pelvic exam, CAT scan, MRI, PET scan and lymph node dissection. This will help determine if the cancer has metastasized or spread to other areas of the body such as lymph nodes or lungs.