Guest Author - Dr. Denise Howard
Endometrial cancer, like many other medical conditions, can be beat. But you canít defeat an enemy if you donít know you have one and if you are not properly armed to fight the battles. Awareness of the problem is the first step. The links below will direct you to previous articles written on the topic. The second step is a willingness to act when you realize you are a potential target for this malignancy.
An early diagnosis is one key to beating endometrial cancer. The presenting symptom is abnormal bleeding in reproductive age women and any unexplained bleeding in a postmenopausal woman. You should see your gynecologist as soon as possible so that can start a proper evaluation to investigate the cause. The majority of the time, the symptoms are due to other causes and not cancer, but it is important to be seen. Most cases of endometrial cancer are caught early: 68% are usually Stage 1-2, 20% are typically Stage 3 and only 8% are stage 4 which involves distant metastasis. If caught during the early stages a simple hysterectomy maybe the only treatment needed. If caught at later stages, the chance of survival is significantly lower.
Early treatment of problems such as abnormal bleeding, irregular cycles, and hyperplasia can prevent the development of cancer. Skipping cycles can lead to the development of hyperplasia and subsequent endometrial cancer. This does not apply to the occasional skipped menstruation but in cases where the irregular cycles have gone on for years and not been addressed. If you have a diagnosis of hyperplasia, it is important to follow the treatment regimen and follow up instructions provided by your doctor. Finally, if you have prolonged menstruation, bleeding in between your menstruation or any abnormal bleeding it is important to see the consultation of a gynecologist as soon as possible.
Endometrial cancer, hyperplasia, irregular cycles, skipped periods and abnormal bleeding can potentially be prevented. If you are over weight or obese, lose weight. Excessive body fat contributes to estrogen excess and the subsequent development of hyperplasia and potentially cancer. If you have irregular cycles or skipped periods, see your gynecologist and work with her to develop a plan to regulate your cycles. If you are not happy with the treatment, donít just stop it; schedule a follow up visit to discuss other options.
Endometrial cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women and the most commonly diagnosed cancer of the female genital tract in developed countries. It is also one that can be easily treated. There arenít many cancers that can be cured or even prevented but many of the gynecologic cancers can be beaten. Awareness, early detection, and prompt treatment are the keys to beating endometrial cancer.
I hope this article has provided you with information that will help you make wise choices, so you may:
Live healthy, live well and live long!