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Endometrial Cancer

Prevent cancer of the uterus

Endometrial cancer refers to cancer of the uterus or endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. This type of cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States and affects over 35,000 women each year. Uterine cancer is caused by excessive estrogen exposure and normally occurs in women who have undergone menopause. While endometrial cancer is known as uterine cancer, it is not the only type of uterine cancer and should not be taken as such. It is the third leading cause of death among the gyneological cancers, just after ovarian as number one and cervical cancer as number two.

Some other risk factors include nulliparity (or lack of pregnancy), polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, early menarche, high consumption of animal fat, obesity and hypertension. Women who fall into these categories should especially be careful to be checked for this cancer.

Endometrial cancer symptoms

The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is excessive vaginal bleeding and pain in the abdomen. Other symptoms may include abnormal menstrual periods, bleeding between normal periods, especially for women over the age of 40, long, heavy, painful and episodes of bleeding, anemia from chronic loss of blood, lower abdominal pain and cramping, and thin white discharge in women who are menopausal.

Endometrial cancer treatment

The most successful treatment for endometrial cancer is the complete removal of the uterus in many cases, known as a hysterectomy. If the ovaries are not affected by the cancer, then they are normally left in to regulate hormonal activity. This cures the cancer in many cases. Often radiation follow-up and chemotherapy are offered to women in higher stages of the cancer, to prevent metastasis. Abdominal hysterectomy is preferred over vaginal, as this allows the doctors to wash the inside of the abdominal cavity and take out any cancerous cells that may remain. Often, endometrial curettage can help with removing cancerous cells as well.

While endometrial cancer can be caused by a variety of factors, it can be caught early by getting regular pelvic ultrasounds, examinations and PAP smears. Women over 40 and menopausal should especially get checked regularly to prevent this cancer.

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