Endometrial cancer

April 2017


Definition


The uterus is the female genital organ for reproduction because it is here where a pregnancy will take place. However, this organ can be affected by cancerous tumors, the two distinct types being: cervical cancer and endometrial cancer, which is the other name for the uterine lining.
Endometrial cancer is a cancer that generally affects elderly women, mostly postmenopausal. There are different types, but the most common develops from the glands of the mucous membrane: this is called adenocarcinoma.

Symptoms


In the vast majority of cases, endometrial cancer is discovered with bleeding, a genital blood loss occurring outside of menstruation. Bleeding in postmenopausal women should be seen as a trigger. Sometimes, pain in the abdomen is also possible.

Diagnosis


In the presence of these suggestive signs, an ultrasound will be performed. Then, an examination of the uterus and endometrium is possible via a hysteroscopy, that is to say the direct visualization of the interior of the uterus using a mini camera. If lesions are found, this will often be the case with cancer, samples or biopsies will be made to allow the analysis of the constitution of the tumor. In the case of cancer, it is necessary to perform various other exams on other regions where the cancer may have migrated.

Treatment


Treatment of endometrial cancer will depend on the nature of the tumor and biopsy results but also the stage of the potential cancer. Typically in less advanced stages, surgical removal of the entire uterus and surrounding structures, tubes and ovaries will be carried out: this is called a total hysterectomy with oophorectomy. Lymph nearby will also be "cleansed". Sometimes part of the vagina will also be removed. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy or brachytherapy, i.e. a localized radiotherapy, will be considered according to the classification of the tumor.

Prevention
It is not possible to prevent endometrial cancer. All we know is that long exposure to estrogen, a female hormone, increases the risk, and thus hormone replacement therapy should be reserved for only the most disabling forms of menopause.

Related

Published by Jeff. Latest update on June 14, 2013 at 05:40 PM by Jeff.
This document, titled "Endometrial cancer," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (health.ccm.net).