Endometrial cancer is a cancer of the uterus. It occurs in the cells and lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium, and results when normal uterine cells begin to multiply malignantly. Cancerous tumours are always malignant, however, benign, non-cancerous tumours, such as fibrois and polyps, can also be found in the uterus. Endometrial cancers are very common, and are in fact one of the most gynaecological cancers, with many women diagnosed with endometrial cancer each year.
Endometrial cancers are most commonly found in women who have undergone menopause, and is usually decade a within a few decades of menopause. It has been associated with high levels of oestrogen, which is something that is common in post-menopausal women. There are two types of endrometrial cancers. These are carcinomas, referring to cancers that originate in the cells lining the endometrium, and sarcomas, which form in the connective tissue of the endometrium. Sarcomas are much less common than carcinoma-type cancers.
Risk factors of endometrial cancer include high levels of oestrogen, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, other types of cancer, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Women who have never given birth or who are infertile are also at a higher risk for developing endometrial cancer.
The signs and symptoms of endrometrial cancers or uterine cancers are varied. Some signs of cancer of the uterus include unusual bleeding or periods, bleeding in between periods, long periods of bleeding or frequently bleeding, anaemic, cramping and pain in the abdominal area, and vaginal discharge.
The most common type of treatment for endometrial cancers is surgery. Surgery to remove endometrial cancer may include fluid sampling and biopsy, hysterectomies, and ovary removal. If the cancer patient is considered at high risk of the cancer reoccurring, then additional treatments such as radiation therapy and sometimes chemotherapy may also be recommended. Some other alternative therapies may also help in improving a cancer patient’s odds in recovering from cancer or in reducing the risk of cancer reoccurring.
Given that endometrial cancer tends to be diagnosed fairly early on, in part because of medical procedures such as pap smears, it tends to have quite a high survival rate, with 70-75% of women with stage 1 endometrial cancer recovering from their cancer diagnosis. However, the likelihood of beating endometrial cancer does decline as the stage of the cancer progresses. Still, endometrial cancer tends to have a higher survival rate than other similar cancers such as ovarian or cervical cancer.