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Cancer Types

Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial Cancer Facts

What is Endometrial Cancer?

Endometrial Cancer Facts

Cancer of the uterus starts in the endometrium, the cells lining the protective tissue of the uterus. The uterus is the hollow, pear-shaped organ in the pelvis where the fetus develops. Most endometrial cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release fluids and mucus).

Almost all cancers of the uterus start in the endometrium and are termed endometrial carcinomas. Cancers can also start in the muscle layer or supporting connective tissue of the uterus. These cancers are called sarcomas.

The most common endometrial cancer type is called endometrioid adenocarcinoma. Less common types of endometrial cancers is the undifferentiated and squamous cell.

There are other types of endometrioid cancers, such as;

Mucinous adenocarcinoma cancers start in the epithelium cells. These cells make up the membrane issue that cover internal and external surfaces of the organs and the body.

Secretory carcinoma is a cancer of the endometrioid composed of cells that are highly secretory.

Ciliated carcinoma Cancer of the endometrioid in cells that are composed of cila, fine hairlike development that extends from the cell.

It is estimated that over 80% of endometrial cancers are typical adenocarcinomas, known as endometrioid. Endometrioid cancers look much like the cells in the endometrium lining. Some of these cancers contain flat thin cells on the surface of the cervix called squamous cells and do not look like cancerous cells. Glandular cells have a column-shaped look and look cancerous under the microscope.

Estimated new cases and deaths from endometrial cancer in the United States in 2013: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/endometrial/HealthProfessional/page1

New cases: 49,560

Deaths: 8,190

Risk Factors

Endometrial Cancer Risk Factors

Older women are more at risk of developing Endometrial Cancer. The list of Endometrial Cancer risk factors include the following;

Unbalanced, unusual high levels of estrogen in the body.

Obesity is also a high risk factor of endometrial cancer, usually caused by a combination of bad diet and lack of exercise.

A woman who has never been pregnant has a higher change of getting cancer than a woman who has been pregnant at least once.

Late menopause or early onset of menstruation, the more periods a woman has, the more estrogen her endometrium has been exposed to.

Diabetes and other cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer. Women who have taken Tamoxifen also have increased their chance of getting the cancer.

Other risk factors include, endometrial hyperplasia, hypertension, pelvic radiation therapy and endometrial polyps or other benign growths of the uterine lining

What to Look For

Endometrial Cancer, What to look for

Women over the age of 50 are at a high risk of developing Endometrial Cancer. The most common symptoms of Endometrial Cancer include;

Abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting in postmenopausal women, abnormal menstrual periods and bleeding between periods. 9 out of 20 women with endometrial cancer has had abnormal bleeding.

Postmenopausal women might experience a thin white or clear vaginal discharge.

Swollen glands and/or lymph nodes in the neck, top of clavicles, or under the chin.

Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.

Anemia, caused by low red blood cell count. Women with a history of chronic bleeding may get anemia.

Other symptoms include cramping, pain in the pelvis, usually found in the later stages.

Tests

Endometrial Cancer Tests

When women experience any of the above symptoms, they are encouraged to see a doctor. The doctors will access your symptoms and after a a physical and a pelvic exam. Based on the results, the following tests would be used to detect endometrial cancer.

First a doctor may recommend a hysteroscopy. The doctor inserts a telescope though a tiny tube into the uterus. This allows the doctor to see the area and allows him to take a sample of any tissue that looks problematic.

Then a sample of the tissue will need to be removed and examined. This is done though an endometrial biopsy.

If the endometrial does not produce any results, a dilation and curettage (D&C;) will be necessary for diagnosing the cancer.

Testing for the serum p53 antibody may help identify high-risk endometrial cancer. This is ongoing research.

Stages

Endometrial Cancer Stages

Endometrial carcinoma is surgically staged using the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics ( FIGO ) staging system.

The 2010 FIGO staging system is as follows: Carcinoma of the Endometrium

  • IA Tumor confined to the uterus, no or < ½ myometrial invasion
  • IB Tumor confined to the uterus, > ½ myometrial invasion
  • II Tumor involves the uterus and the cervical stroma
  • IIIA Tumor invades serosa or adnexa
  • IIIB Vaginal and/or parametrial involvement
  • IIIC1 Pelvic lymph node involvement
  • IIIC2 Para-aortic lymph node involvement, with or without pelvic node involvement
  • IVA Tumor invasion bladder mucosa and/or bowel mucosa
  • IVB Distant metastases including abdominal metastases and/or inguinal lymph nodes

Types of Treatment

Endometrial Cancer Types of treatment

Treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer, with surgery as the usual primary treatment. Since later stages usually include cancers spreading to lymph nodes and other sites, a combination of treatments are usually recommended.

In Stage I, a total abdominal hysterectomy is done.

In stage II, the hysterectomy includes systematic pelvic node clearance. Para-aortic lymphadenectomy may also be considered.

Stage III and IV usually involve a hysterectomy combined with radiation and chemotherapy. When surgery is not possible because of complications, external beam radiotherapy and a type of internal radiation therapy called radiotherapy may be used.

Endometrial Cancer Risk Factors

Endometrial Cancer Risk Factors

Older women are more at risk of developing Endometrial Cancer. The list of Endometrial Cancer risk factors include the following;

Unbalanced, unusual high levels of estrogen in the body.

Obesity is also a high risk factor of endometrial cancer, usually caused by a combination of bad diet and lack of exercise.

A woman who has never been pregnant has a higher change of getting cancer than a woman who has been pregnant at least once.

Late menopause or early onset of menstruation, the more periods a woman has, the more estrogen her endometrium has been exposed to.

Diabetes and other cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer. Women who have taken Tamoxifen also have increased their chance of getting the cancer.

Other risk factors include, endometrial hyperplasia, hypertension, pelvic radiation therapy and endometrial polyps or other benign growths of the uterine lining

What to Look for

Endometrial Cancer, What to look for

Women over the age of 50 are at a high risk of developing Endometrial Cancer. The most common symptoms of Endometrial Cancer include;

Abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting in postmenopausal women, abnormal menstrual periods and bleeding between periods. 9 out of 20 women with endometrial cancer has had abnormal bleeding.

Postmenopausal women might experience a thin white or clear vaginal discharge.

Swollen glands and/or lymph nodes in the neck, top of clavicles, or under the chin.

Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.

Anemia, caused by low red blood cell count. Women with a history of chronic bleeding may get anemia.

Other symptoms include cramping, pain in the pelvis, usually found in the later stages.

Endometrial Cancer Tests

Endometrial Cancer Tests

When women experience any of the above symptoms, they are encouraged to see a doctor. The doctors will access your symptoms and after a a physical and a pelvic exam. Based on the results, the following tests would be used to detect endometrial cancer.

First a doctor may recommend a hysteroscopy. The doctor inserts a telescope though a tiny tube into the uterus. This allows the doctor to see the area and allows him to take a sample of any tissue that looks problematic.

Then a sample of the tissue will need to be removed and examined. This is done though an endometrial biopsy.

If the endometrial does not produce any results, a dilation and curettage (D&C;) will be necessary for diagnosing the cancer.

Testing for the serum p53 antibody may help identify high-risk endometrial cancer. This is ongoing research.

Stages of Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial Cancer Stages

Endometrial carcinoma is surgically staged using the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics ( FIGO ) staging system.

The 2010 FIGO staging system is as follows: Carcinoma of the Endometrium

  • IA Tumor confined to the uterus, no or < ½ myometrial invasion
  • IB Tumor confined to the uterus, > ½ myometrial invasion
  • II Tumor involves the uterus and the cervical stroma
  • IIIA Tumor invades serosa or adnexa
  • IIIB Vaginal and/or parametrial involvement
  • IIIC1 Pelvic lymph node involvement
  • IIIC2 Para-aortic lymph node involvement, with or without pelvic node involvement
  • IVA Tumor invasion bladder mucosa and/or bowel mucosa
  • IVB Distant metastases including abdominal metastases and/or inguinal lymph nodes

Types of Treatment for Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial Cancer Types of treatment

Treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer, with surgery as the usual primary treatment. Since later stages usually include cancers spreading to lymph nodes and other sites, a combination of treatments are usually recommended.

In Stage I, a total abdominal hysterectomy is done.

In stage II, the hysterectomy includes systematic pelvic node clearance. Para-aortic lymphadenectomy may also be considered.

Stage III and IV usually involve a hysterectomy combined with radiation and chemotherapy. When surgery is not possible because of complications, external beam radiotherapy and a type of internal radiation therapy called radiotherapy may be used.

Side Effects of Endometrial Cancer

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