So, although I knew Womb Cancer existed, this is a new cancer to me. I will be learning just as much as you guys are as I write the post.
Cancer of the womb, also sometimes known as uterine or endometrial cancer, is a common cancer affecting women’s reproductive systems. It is more common in women who have experienced the menopause.
The most common symptom of Womb Cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. That simply means bleeding that is unusual for you, including heavier periods than you usually have. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the back, legs or pelvis
- Loss of appetite
Most Womb Cancers begin in the cells than make up the lining of the womb – the endometrium. This is why cancer of the womb is often known as endometrial cancer. In rare cases the cancer can begin in the muscle wall of the womb. This type of cancer is called uterine sarcoma and it may be treated differently.
The NHS advise that you see your GP as soon as possible where unusual bleeding is concerned. Your GP can then assess your symptoms, offer an internal examination and then refer you to a gynaecologist for further tests if necessary.
The Gynaecologist will likely perform a transvaginal ultrasound scan that uses a small probe as a scanner to get a good picture of how your womb looks. This kind of ultrasound checks whether there are any changes to the lining of the womb that could have been caused by a polyp or cancer.
If the ultrasound finds changes in the thickness of your uterine lining, you will then be offered a hysteroscopy. This is where a thin type of telescope is inserted into the womb through the vagina and cervix for the gynaecologist to look at the lining of the womb. They are likely to take a biopsy at the same time, which means they will take a sample from the lining of your womb to be checked for cancerous cells. Occasionally you may have a biopsy without a hysteroscopy called an aspiration biopsy. This is where a small flexible tube is inserted into the womb to suck up a small sample of cells.
In some cases a hysteroscopy and dilatation and curettage (D&C) may be offered. A D&C is a minor procedure carried out under general anaesthesia to remove some tissue from the womb to send to the laboratory for testing.
If you are diagnosed with Womb Cancer then you may be offered a mixture of the following tests: an MRI scan, CT scan, further blood tests or a chest X ray.
The most common treatment for Womb Cancer is a hysterectomy. This is the surgical removal of the womb, and usually the cervix, Fallopian tubes and ovaries too. A hysterectomy can cure cancer in its early stages, but of course this comes with the loss of fertility if you are experiencing this cancer before the menopause. There is a progesterone treatment available for women who have not experienced the menopause and would still like to have children. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are sometimes given too.
We don’t know what it is that causes womb cancer exactly, But certain things can increase your risk of developing it. One of the main risk factors is high levels of oestrogen in your bod. There are a number of things that can cause your levels of oestrogen to be high including obesity. There is also a small risk of womb cancer with long-term use of the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen.
There are however, ways to reduce your risk including maintaining a healthy weight and long-term use of some types of contraception.
If you have any concerns or are experiencing womb cancer yourself then please follow The Eve Appeal for more support.
All information was taken from the NHS