Endometrial Cancer: What Are The Risks And Causes?

Endometrial cancer starts in the uterus and spreads throughout the body. The uterus is a pear-shaped hollow pelvic organ in which fetal development takes place. The layer of cells that make up the uterine lining (endometrium) is where endometrial cancer starts.

Endometrial cancer, often known as uterine cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the uterus.  Uterine sarcoma is a type of cancer that can develop in the uterus. However, it is far less prevalent than endometrial cancer.

Endometrial Cancer: What Are The Risks And Causes?

Although it commonly causes irregular vaginal bleeding, endometrial cancer is frequently discovered at an early stage. Endometrial cancer can frequently be cured by surgically removing the uterus if it is detected early.

Many women with endometrial cancer symptoms (vaginal bleeding after menopause or irregular monthly bleeding) may have an endometrial biopsy that reveals precancerous endometrial abnormalities called complex hyperplasia with atypia. The likelihood of endometrial cancer developing in 25 to 50 percent of these women is high.

If a woman does not desire to become pregnant, doctors usually recommend a hysterectomy (surgical to remove the uterus) to lessen the risk. This is because of the possibility of actual cancer being discovered during the hysterectomy, many gynecologists recommend these women to a gynecologic oncologist for surgery.

Doctors may adopt a more conservative approach with younger patients who want to keep their capacity to have children, utilizing hormone therapy (typically progestins) to minimize cancer risk and undertaking regular follow-ups to monitor for any signs of cancer.

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How common is endometrial cancer?

In American women, endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the reproductive organs. It is frequently curable, especially when detected early. Every year, over 46,000 new instances of endometrial cancer are detected in the United States.

The American Cancer Society projects the following rates of uterine cancer in the United States in 2022:

A total of 65,950 new cases of uterine cancer (uterine body or corpus) will be diagnosed.

Cancers of the uterine body will kill approximately 12,550 women. Endometrial malignancies and uterine sarcomas are both included in these calculations.

Although sarcomas account for up to 10% of uterine body cancers, the actual number of endometrial cancer cases and deaths is slightly lower than these figures.

Endometrial cancer primarily affects women who have reached menopause. Women diagnosed with endometrial cancer are on average 60 years old. Women under the age of 45 are less likely to have it.

Black women are more likely than white women to develop this cancer, and they are also more likely to die from it.

In the United States today, there are more than 600,000 endometrial cancer survivors.

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Causes

Endometrial Cancer: What Are The Risks And Causes?

Endometrial cancer is caused by an unknown factor, according to doctors. What is known is that something causes changes (mutations) in the DNA of cells in the endometrium or uterine lining.

Normal, healthy cells become abnormal as a result of the mutation. Healthy cells develop and replicate at a predetermined rate before dying at a predetermined period.

Abnormal cells multiply and develop out of control, and they don’t perish at a predictable rate. The aberrant cells that are accumulating form a bulk (tumor). Cancer cells infiltrate adjacent tissues and can break out from a primary tumor to spread to other parts of the body (metastasize).

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Risk factors

Changes in the female hormone.

The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, which are the two main female hormones. Changes in the endometrium are caused by fluctuations in the balance of these hormones.

Endometrial cancer risk can be increased by sickness or a condition that raises estrogen levels but not progesterone levels in the body.

Ovulation irregularities, which can occur in polycystic ovarian syndrome, obesity, and diabetes are examples. After menopause, estrogen-only hormones with no progesterone increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

Years of menstruation are to come.

Endometrial cancer is more likely in women who start menstruating early before the age of 12 or wait longer to reach menopause. The longer you’ve had periods, the more estrogen your endometrium has been exposed to.

Having never been pregnant.

You have a higher chance of endometrial cancer if you have never been pregnant than if you have had at least one pregnancy.

Getting older.

Endometrial cancer is more likely to develop as you get older. After menopause, endometrial cancer is most common.

Obesity.

Obesity raises the risk of endometrial cancer. This could happen when your body’s hormone balance is disrupted by increased body fat.

Hormone therapy for breast cancer.

Tamoxifen, a hormone treatment medicine used to treat breast cancer, has been linked to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. If you’re on tamoxifen, talk to your doctor about this possibility. The benefits of tamoxifen far outweigh the minor risk of endometrial cancer for the vast majority of women.

Genetic Factor

Lynch syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is a cancer risk factor for colon cancer and other cancers, including endometrial cancer. Lynch syndrome is caused by a gene mutation that is passed down from one generation to the next.

If a family member has been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, talk to your doctor about your risk of developing the genetic disorder. Ask your doctor what cancer screening tests you should take if you’ve been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome.

Diagnosis

If you have signs or symptoms that could indicate endometrial cancer (or any disease with your reproductive organs), your doctor will likely conduct a comprehensive physical examination followed by a pelvic examination.
Doctors must take a small sample of tissue from your endometrium and examine the cells under a microscope to diagnose endometrial cancer.

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Treatment

Surgery to remove the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries is usually used to treat endometrial cancer.  During surgery, the surgeon will examine for evidence of cancer spread in the tissues surrounding your uterus. Lymph nodes may also be removed for testing by the surgeon. This aids in determining the stage of your cancer.

To kill cancer cells, radiation therapy employs high-energy beams such as X-rays and protons. Your doctor may offer radiation to lower your chances of cancer return following surgery in specific cases.

Chemotherapy may be used following surgery if there is a chance that the cancer will return. It can also be used before surgery to shrink cancer, making it more likely to be removed during surgery.

 

 

 

 

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