It is called the “C” word. The very mention of the word “cancer” gives jitters to many even if it’s the zodiac sign. However, if you visit communities like “Fight Like a Girl Club,” and “Sisterhood of Survivorship” you would see stories of grit and determination. Many women of different ages have fought cancer and came out victorious in the battle.
The sad reality is that, in these times, no woman is totally free of the possibility of having cancer. Many people think that not having many babies is the reason for contracting uterine cancer. Having 10 babies is impractical though there is some truth in this.
In fact, one research paper says “maternal age at first birth was associated with an increasing relative risk of endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancers, and with a decreased risk of cervical cancer,” and “multiple births were associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer.”
One thing that Indian women can be glad about is that the incidence of uterine cancer has been low when compared to the western countries. Having said that, the number of cases are on the rise. Moreover, morbidity and mortality are low in the early stages where there is abnormal bleeding.
Who is at risk?
To put it in a nutshell, anyone who has abnormal vaginal bleeding. Women experience abnormal bleeding at some time or the other in their lives. It is a risk when it happen after menopause. That puts women after menopause at a higher risk. It has been found out that women between the ages of 55 to 64 years are more prone to have uterine cancer. These age groups have the highest mortality rates too.
It has also been found out that women with a family history of cancer, and exposure to tobacco are at a higher risk.
Other Risk Factors:
- Increased exposure to estrogen due to early menarche or late menopause.
- Null parity.
- Tamoxifen Therapy.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy with Estrogen
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Endometrial Hyperplasia
Did you screen yourself for cancer? Like the routine breast examination, women need to screen themselves for uterine cancer.
Women in general, and women in the age group of 55 to 64 yrs need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of uterine cancer so that in the eventuality of these symptoms appearing, they can be nipped in the bud.
By the way, there is a small difference between a sign and a symptom. A sign is something that is recognized by a doctor. A symptom is that which a patient experiences. Even though the signs and symptoms of uterine cancer are the same for certain other conditions, women have to be cautious, and should be on the lookout.
Some Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Cancer:
- Vaginal bleeding that starts after menopause.
- Bleeding between periods for menopausal women.
- Heavy or frequent bleeding during or before menopause.
- Bleeding during intercourse.
- Foul smelling vaginal discharge.
- Pus and blood tinged discharge.
- Pelvic pain and pressure.
- Pain in the back, lower abdomen and legs.
- Pain or infrequency in urination.
- Blood in urine.
- Pain during bowel movement.
- Difficult bowel movement.
- Blood in stool.
- Abdominal bloating.
- Weight loss.
Remember, the survival rate of patients who have been diagnosed in the earlier stages is high. So, if you have any of these symptoms, or if you belong to the risk age group, please have regular check-ups with a gynaecologist. There are many latest diagnostics and treatment options available that can cure uterine cancer.
Apart from medicines and treatment, a strong will and a lot of support from friends and family is essential for a person to overcome this malady.
If you are in doubt, do not hesitate, please contact a gynaecologist at Apollo Hospitals right now. You can in fact consult them online. Book your appointment for online consultation here