Information on Uterine Cancer:
The causes of cancer of the uterus.
Although Scientists have not yet determined the cause of cancer of the uterus, they have identified a number of factors that can put you at risk.
Your age group is quite important because uterine cancer is rare in women under 50 years old – being much more common in women aged 50 to 65.
Using oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for extended periods of time may slightly increase your uterine cancer risk, but a combination of oestrogen and progesterone causes no change to your uterine cancer risk at all.
A treatment for breast cancer called tamoxifen has also been shown to slightly increase your uterine cancer risk if taken over a long period of time, but it is argued that the immediate benefits of this medication far out-weigh the potential long term side effects.
The good news is that use of the oral contraceptive pill is believed to significantly reduce a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer.
The symptoms of uterine cancer.
The following symptoms are often found in cases of uterine cancer:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding – such as in between periods, or periods that are much heavier than normal.
- Bleeding which starts after the menopause in post-menopausal women.
Even though these symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions, it is important that you contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing them.
Methods of diagnosis.
There are a number of methods used to diagnose uterine cancer. The most common ones are as follows:
- Dilatation and curettage (D & C) – Which involves your doctor inserting an instrument into your uterus via the cervix (under a general anaesthetic) in order to remove samples of tissue from the inner lining of the uterus. The tissue samples can then undergo microscopic examination for any abnormalities.
- Hysteroscopy – This technique allows your doctor to obtain a biopsy from the uterus whilst visually examining the lining using a small instrument called a hysteroscope.
- Vaginal ultrasound.