What is endometrial cancer?
Endometrial cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the uterus. The lining is called the endometrium. Endometrial cancer is also called cancer of the uterus, or uterine cancer.
Endometrial cancer usually occurs in women older than 50. The good news is that it is usually cured when it is found early. And most of the time, the cancer is found in its earliest stage, before it has spread outside the uterus.
What causes endometrial cancer?
The most common cause of endometrial cancer is having too much of the hormone estrogen compared to the hormone progesterone in the body. This hormone imbalance causes the lining of the uterus to get thicker and thicker. If the lining builds up and stays that way, then cancer cells can start to grow.
Women who have this hormone imbalance over time may be more likely to get endometrial cancer after age 50. This hormone imbalance can happen if a woman:
- Is obese. Fat cells make extra estrogen, but the body doesn’t make extra progesterone to balance it out.
- Takes estrogen without taking a progestin.
- Has polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes hormone imbalance.
- Starts her period before age 12 or starts menopause after age 55.
- Has never been pregnant or had a full-term pregnancy.
- Has never breast-fed.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is unexpected (abnormal) bleeding from the vagina after menopause. (If you are taking hormone therapy, some vaginal bleeding is expected.) About 20 out of 100 women who have abnormal bleeding after menopause have endometrial cancer. That means that 80 out of 100 women with abnormal bleeding don’t have this cancer.
A woman with advanced endometrial cancer may have other symptoms, such as losing weight without trying.
How is endometrial cancer diagnosed?
Endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed with a biopsy. In this test, the doctor removes a small sample of the lining of the uterus to look for cancer cells.
How is it treated?
Endometrial cancer in its early stages can be cured. The main treatment is surgery to remove the uterus plus the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. If the cancer has spread, the doctor may also remove the pelvic lymph nodes.
A woman whose cancer has spread may also have:
- Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy to block cancer growth.
- Radiation therapy to kill cancer cells.
It’s common to feel scared, sad, or angry after finding out that you have endometrial cancer. Talking to others who have had the disease may help you feel better. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. You can also find people online who will share their experiences with you.
OK, after carefully reading this article, I have a question —
The most common cause of endometrial cancer is having too much of the hormone estrogen compared to the hormone progesterone in the body, causing an imbalance that may cause the lining of the uterus to get thicker, possibly leading to the growth of cancer.
So, have any of the menstruation suppression advocates addressed how hormone-induced fewer – shorter periods might affect the risk factor of Endometrial cancer in women who choose to use these suppression drugs?
I can’t find any references to increased risk of endometrial cancer in any of the suppression literature. Has it been addressed or the possibility ignored? —HSCB
Source: WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.