Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer

When cancer develops from the womb (uterus) is known as endometrial cancer.  It usually occurs after menopause and is rare in young women who are less than 40 years of age

What are the causes?
  • Obesity
  • Women with diabetes and hypertension
  • Women taking tamoxifen therapy
  • Women taking unsupervised oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Family history of cancer (colon or uterine) known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer
  • Early onset of menstruation and late menopause
  • With history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
What are the symptoms?
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Watery discharge with blood tinged or brownish vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods (inter-menstrual bleeding)
  • Tummy pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Feeling tired
What test will be required for diagnosis?
  • 1.  To confirm the diagnosis
    • Doctor will usually do a vaginal examination (internal examination) if you have symptoms that may possibly be like cancer.
    • Endometrial biopsy will be done, this can be done in outpatient clinic without any anesthesia.
  • 2.  Assessing the extent and spread
    • Once you have been diagnosed then further tests may be advised to assess if the cancer has spread to other organs such as, an ultrasound scan, a CT scan, PET CT and MRI scan, a chest X-ray, blood tests or other tests.
    • This assessment is called staging of the cancer, done to assess the extent of the spread and to know the stage.
What are the treatment options available?
  • Surgery is the first course of treatment for endometrial cancer. 90% of women with this cancer undergo some form of surgery. They are treated with hysterectomy (removal of womb and neck of the womb) and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (both fallopian tubes and ovaries) and lymph glands.
  • This surgery can be performed via
    • Open-abdomen procedure called laparotomy is the traditional surgical procedure.
    • Keyhole technique called laparoscopy or robotic surgery: this techniqueis associated with less pain, speedy recovery, small scars and early discharge from hospital.

In some cases radiation and or chemotherapy may be required, depending on your stage.

Radiation

  • Radiation is a machine, which uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and stop their growth.
  • There are two ways of having radiation treatments:
    • Brachytherapy:  You get radiation through your vagina.
    • External beam radiation therapy: radiation is given from above your tummy.

Chemotherapy

  • In chemotherapy treatment drugs are used to kill or slow the growth of cancerous cells. It’s usually given through an IV injection.
  • You will be told that you need chemo with radiation; this type of treatment is called chemoradiation.
  • Adding chemo during radiation makes the radiation to be more effective. You might also get only chemotherapy treatment if your cancer has spread to other organs.
Follow-up after treatment
  • You should strictly follow-up with your doctor as per their advice.
  • In addition to receiving treatment for cervical cancer your success of treatment will depend only when you have regular follow-up.