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Uterine Cancer

The various types of cancers of the uterus or the womb are collectively referred to as uterine cancer.

One of the most common types of gynecologic cancers (Cancers affecting the reproductive system) is endometrial cancer. The development of endometrial cancer starts in the endometrium. The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus. 

Out of the various types of gynecologic cancers, uterine sarcomas are very rare. This type of uterine cancer starts developing in the myometrium. Myometrium is the muscle wall of the uterus. 

Uterine cancer collectively refers to two types of cancers. Uterine cancer refers to either uterine sarcoma, endometrial cancer or any type of rare cancer which can arise in your uterus. More often than not, uterine cancer and endometrial cancer are two terms that are treated the same. This is because; endometrial cancers are the most common type of cancer. 

Symptoms of the Condition

Signs of uterine cancer are very similar to signs of other health conditions. This is true specifically in the case of other health conditions related to the reproductive organs. You should definitely consult your healthcare provider immediately if you notice signs of unusual pain, bleeding, or leaking. To get proper treatment, you should get an accurate diagnosis. To get an accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to contact your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any unusual symptoms.  

The main symptoms of uterine sarcoma or endometrial cancer:- 

  • If you observe vaginal bleeding in between your periods or before menopause, it could be a sign of uterine cancer. 

  • Even a slight amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding post-menopause can be a sign of uterine cancer. 

  • If you observe pain in your lower abdomen or cramping in your pelvis, just below your belly area, then it might indicate uterine cancer. 

  • When you are post-menopausal, look out for thin, white, or clear vaginal discharge. 

  • If you are older than 40, then extremely prolonged, frequent or heavy vaginal bleeding might be a cause for concern. 

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately contact a healthcare specialist. 

Types of the Disease

As we have discussed before, the term uterine cancer collectively refers to different types of cancer that occur in the uterus. The types of uterine cancer are:- 

Endometrial cancer- Cancer that originates from the cells present in the glands of the endometrium is known as endometrial carcinoma. The endometrium is the uterine lining. Endometrial carcinoma includes the common and easily treatable endometrioid adenocarcinoma. This also includes the more aggressive uterine clear cell carcinoma and the more aggressive uterine papillary serous carcinoma.  

There are also malignant mixed Mullerian tumours, also known as uterine carcinosarcomas. They are very rare endometrial tumours. They show both glandular and stromal differentiation. 

Uterine sarcomas - Uterine sarcomas, properly known as Leiomyosarcomas originate from the muscular layer of the uterus. This layer is also known as the myometrium. It is to be noted that leiomyosarcomas are very distinct from uterine leiomyomas. Uterine leiomyomas are a very benign type of uterine cancer.

The origin of endometrial stromal sarcomas is the connective tissues of the endometrium. They are also not as common as endometrial carcinomas. 

Risk Factors Involved with the Disease

  • The ovaries in females are involved with the production of two main hormones- estrogen and progesterone. There are many fluctuations in the levels of these hormones throughout the lifetime. These fluctuations lead to the change in the endometrium. 

  • Any disease or a condition that increases the amount of oestrogen but not the level of progesterone. This can increase the risk of endometrial cancer in your body. After menopause, intake of hormones that contain oestrogen but not progesterone increases the risk of developing endometrial cancer. 

  • There is also a rare type of ovarian tumour that secretes oestrogen. This also increases the risk of endometrial cancer. 

  • If someone starts their menstruation before the age of 12 or has their menopause very late in their lifetime, this increases the risk of developing endometrial cancer. This is because of the prolonged exposure your uterus gets to estrogen during the periods. 

  • Sometimes women who never get pregnant throughout their lifetime have a greater risk of developing uterine cancer than someone who has at least one pregnancy. 

  • Older age is always a cause of developing all kinds of disease, and cancer is no exception. The risk of endometrial cancer is especially high after menopause. 

  • Obesity puts the human body at risk, not just from cancer, but from many other diseases. This occurs because the excess amount of body fat affects the hormone levels in your body. 

  • Hormone therapy for breast cancer can also put your body at great risk of developing uterine cancer. 

How is this Condition Diagnosed?

The process used for the diagnosis of endometrial/uterine cancer is as follows:- 

Pelvic examination is a basic way of examining your reproductive organs for any sign of cancer. During this examination, the doctor carefully examines the outer portion of your genitals. Your vagina and your abdomen are pressed from above to examine your ovaries and uterus. A device called a speculum is also inserted in your vagina, so it is opened up and the cervix is then checked for any kind of abnormalities. 

Ultrasound is another method of testing your uterus for any abnormalities. Transvaginal ultrasound to take a look at the texture and thickness of your endometrium. The sound waves produced by the ultrasound help produce images of your uterine lining. 

A scope is sometimes also used to examine your endometrium. This is a flexible tube that is inserted through your vagina, into your cervix to check your uterus. A lens present on the hysteroscope helps the doctor to examine the inside of your uterus. 

The most effective way and common diagnosis of cancer is Biopsy. To test for endometrial cancer, a small portion of the tissue from your uterus is extracted. This undergoes tests in the lab to check for abnormalities. 

How can CARE Hospitals Help?

CARE Hospitals provide extremely good care, with its state-of-the-art infrastructure and well-qualified doctors and staff. The treatment of cancer and the aftercare for the patients is a very complex, long, and essential process, for both the physicians and the patients. But there is nothing to worry about. We provide the patients with the best treatment plans for cancer and provide patients with quality care. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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