uterine cancer

Womb Cancer Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Kapil Kumar
20 Nov 2018
 4.51 Vote(s)
Visits: 10715

Cancer of the uterus is called womb cancer, which starts in the lining of the womb. This is commonly observed in women who have been through menopause. Go through this article for complete details about the symptoms, causes and treatment of womb cancer.

Womb Cancer begins in the uterus, which is a hollow pear-shaped pelvic organ in women. This cancer is sometimes also referred to as Endometrial Cancer. Womb cancer is detected at an early stage, as it produces abnormal vaginal bleeding for which women need to consult doctor. If this cancer is discovered at an early stage, it can be cured by removing the uterus. Womb cancer is also considered as one of the most common cancers of the women reproductive system. Pain during sexual intercourse is also one of the symptoms of womb cancer. Obesity is considered as the strong risk factor for womb cancer. Go through the article to get complete details about symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of womb cancer.

Symptoms of Womb Cancer

The less common symptoms of womb cancer are pain or discomfort in the pelvic area or pain during sex. If any unusual vaginal bleeding is experienced, always consult the general physician about it. Another condition that affects the womb is fibroids, which can also cause unusual vaginal bleeding. Bleeding is considered the first sign of womb cancer. The early you investigate womb cancer, it will be easy for you to cure it.

The common symptom of womb (uterus) cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding which includes:

  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Heavier periods than usual. It is for those women who have not been through the menopause
  • Watery or bloody vaginal discharge 

Causes of Womb Cancer

Real causes of womb cancer are still unknown. However, there are a number of things that can increase the risk of developing this condition.

1. Age: The risk of womb cancer increases with the increase in age. Most cases are seen with the women aged between 40 to 74 years. Only one percent of these cases have been diagnosed in women less than 40 years of age.

2. Oestrogen Levels After Menopause: The risk of developing womb cancer is linked to exposure to estrogen of the body. Estrogen is one of the hormones that regulate the reproductive system in women. After the menopause, the body stops producing progesterone. However, there are still small amounts of estrogen being produced. This unopposed estrogen causes the cells of the endometrium to divide, which can increase the risk of womb cancer.

3. Being Overweight: Being overweight or obese increases the level of estrogen in body, as estrogen can be produced in fatty tissue. This eventually leads to increased chances of developing womb cancer. Women, who are overweight, are three times more likely to develop womb cancer compared to women who are healthy and normal weight.

4. Reproductive History: Women who have not given birth to a baby are at a higher risk of womb cancer. This is because higher levels of progesterone and lower levels of estrogen that occur during pregnancy have a protective effect on the lining of the womb.

5. Tamoxifen: Women who take tamoxifen can be at an increased risk of developing womb cancer.  Tamoxifen is a hormone treatment for breast cancer. However, there is no alternative for it as the risk is outweighed by the benefits that it provides in the prevention of breast cancer.

6. High Levels of Insulin: There is a condition called as hyperinsulinemia. Here the body produces more insulin than normal, which can increase the risk of tumors.

7. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Women with the problem of PCOS are at a higher risk of developing womb cancer. As they develop high levels of estrogen. Women with PCOS have many cysts in their ovaries. These cysts can cause symptoms such as irregular or light periods, or no periods at all. There can be other situations also like problems getting pregnant, weight gain, and acne.

8. Endometrial Hyperplasia: It is a condition where the lining of the womb becomes abnormally thicker. Women facing this condition may be at an increased risk of developing womb cancer.

Womb Cancer Diagnosis

For the diagnosis of womb cancer, first, you have to be sure that you are going through this problem. First, consult General Practitioner (GP) in case of abnormal vaginal bleeding. The GP will ask about the symptoms, and when are they experienced. Then a physical examination will be offered to assess the pelvic organs including womb and ovaries. 

1. Blood and Urine Test: The blood test is done to check the general health of body. After the blood test, a urine test is also performed. It helps to know that the kidneys and liver are working well.

Blood and Urine Test

2. Trans Vaginal Ultrasound Scan (TVS): It is a type of ultrasound scans. Here a small probe is used as a scanner. The probe is placed directly inside the vagina to get a clear picture of the womb. It may feel a little uncomfortable, but it is not painful. TVS is done to check if there are any changes to the thickness of the lining of the womb. If it is so then it could be caused by the presence of cancerous cells. 

Vaginal Scan

3. Biopsy: In the case ofbiopsy, a sample of cells or tissue is taken from the lining of the womb (Endometrium). Then this sample is checked in the laboratory for cancer cells.

Throtab Biopsy

4. Outpatient Hysteroscopy: Here a thin, flexible tube (Telescope) is passed into the womb. This gives the specialist a clear picture of the inside of womb and a sample of tissue is taken.

Hysteroscopy

5. Hysteroscopy Dilatation and Curettage (D and C): It is a minor surgical procedure where a small operation is done under general anesthetic.  From this, a tissue sample is taken from the womb lining.

Treatment of Womb Cancer

Surgery is considered the main treatment for womb cancer. However, the treatment depends upon the individual’s circumstances.

For deciding the best cancer treatment that should be offered, the specialist will consider the following factors:

  • Type and size of the cancer
  • General Health of the patient
  • Grade of the cancer
  • If cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • If fertility is a matter of concern

Some of the common cancer treatments are:

1. Surgery: Removal of the womb along with ovaries and fallopian tubes is the best treatment for womb cancer. This is called as Hysterectomy. The surgery is performed under general anesthetic. This treatment is sometimes followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells.
2. Hormone Therapy: Women who have not gone through menopause usually opt for this. Hysterectomy means that the women will not be able to conceive and deliver a baby. A woman, who has not experienced menopause yet, would not want to remove the womb. In this case, hormone therapy is considered. This is only performed if the cancer is low grade.
3. Chemotherapy: In case of chemotherapy certain drugs are used which can slow down or kill the cancer cells. Injecting the drugs into the veins performs this treatment. The main aim of chemotherapy is to destroy the cancer cells with the least damage to the normal and healthy cells.
4. Radiotherapy: In case of radiotherapy, X- Rays are used to kill or damage the cancer cells. Here the radiation is targeted at the cancer cells in the body. Radiotherapy is often used after surgery as an additional treatment as it reduces the chance of the disease coming back.

Hope this article gave you all the information about Womb cancer and its Symptoms, causes and treatment. For information regarding any kind of cancer treatment, you can refer to Elacancer Blog. You can also call on the given number to book an appointment for the same: +91-8929020600
 


Dr. Kapil Kumar

About the Author

Surgical Oncologist
Dr. Kapil Kumar is an Oncologist and cancer specialist practicing at BLK Hospital in Rajendra Place, Delhi. He specializes in Breast cancer, Oncoplastic surgery, Upper G.I. Onco surgery, Pancreatic Biliary surgery, and Thoracic surgery including Esophagus cancer. He has completed his MBBS from Amritsar Government Medical College and Hospital. Further, he pursued MS from Amritsar Government Medical College and Hospital. Dr. Kapil is a member of Indian Society of Oncology (I.S.O.) and International Society of Diseases of Esophagus. He is also a member of Delhi Medical Association (D.M.A.). He got Dhanvantari award from Cholay 1 Foundation for Onco- Surgery work. He has worked in various hospitals as Senior Consultant Oncologist. Dr. Kapil has an experience of more than two and a half decade in this field. BLK Hospital is JCI, NABH and NABL accredited. It is one of the most successful and largest private sector hospitals situated in Delhi. Book appointment with Dr. Kapil Kumar at Elacancer.com.
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SOURCES AND REFERENCES:

  1. Breast reconstruction surgery as a part of breast cancer treatment breast cancer, Elacancer - 2018
  2. Things you need to know about biopsy biopsy, Elacancer - 2018
  3. Imaging: how it helps to diagnose cancer? cancer treatment, Elacancer - 2018

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Qays Manandhar
Nov. 20, 2018, 5:32 p.m.
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