Endometrial Cancer: Everything You Must Know
Dr. Kavitha Jain

Dr. Kavitha Jain

Apr 30Menstrual Health

Endometrial Cancer: Everything You Must Know

This article has been compiled by Vaibhavi Kodnani, a content writer at Proactive For Her.


The uterus is a muscular organ of the female reproductive system. During pregnancy, the baby/ foetus grows in the uterus until it is time for the birth. The inner lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Endometrial cancer occurs when tumour cells arise from this uterine lining, i.e. endometrium. In 95% of the cases, it affects the uterus. It is rare, but tumour cells may arise from the muscle of the uterus resulting in uterine sarcoma.


Older women above 50 years are more likely to get endometrial cancer. On average, women 60 years of age get diagnosed with this cancer.


Risk factors of Endometrial Cancer


Certain factors listed below put you at a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer.

  • Older age (crossed menopause)
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Endometrial hyperplasia
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Never given birth
  • Early-onset of menstruation
  • Late-onset of menopause
  • Using estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause
  • Taking tamoxifen to treat breast cancer
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Family history of endometrial cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter)


Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer


Bleeding from the vagina is the most common warning sign of endometrial cancer that should not be ignored. If you notice any unusual bleeding and/ or other symptoms, immediately contact your doctor for further advice and treatment.

The other common symptoms to take note of are:

  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Vaginal bleeding not related to periods


Diagnosis of endometrial cancer


Upon the onset of your symptoms, visit your doctor without further delay. An early diagnosis of endometrial cancer can aid the treatment process. For diagnosis, the doctor will perform a few tests to confirm cancer.

Clinical examination: The doctor begins the diagnosis with a routine pelvic exam to check the status of your organs.

Biopsy: During the biopsy, the doctor inserts a thin flexible tube through your cervix into your uterus to collect a sample of the endometrial tissue for evaluation under a microscope.

Dilatation and curettage: D&C is another procedure in which the doctor dilates the cervix to curette or scrape a layer of the endometrium to examine it under a microscope.

Ultrasound and Hysteroscopy: The doctor may also take the help of ultrasound and hysteroscopy to examine the uterus during the initial diagnosis.

Once endometrial cancer is confirmed, they will conduct a few imaging scans to find out the spread of the disease.

MRI scan and CT scan: These two imaging tests are done to detect the extent of the spread of the disease to the lymph nodes and other distant organs. The results of the tests will help to determine the stage of cancer and discuss the treatment options accordingly.

Endometrial cancer is grouped for treatment as follows:

  • Low-risk endometrial cancer
  • High-risk endometrial cancer


endometrial cancer

Treatments of Endometrial Cancer


After the complete diagnosis, the doctor will understand the accurate stage of the disease and the type of the disease to decide the course of treatments. However, surgery remains the mainstay for the treatment of endometrial cancer. It includes surgical removal of the uterus, ovaries and surrounding lymph nodes. In high-risk patients, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also used for the treatment along with surgery. Novel treatment includes hormone therapy and targeted therapy. Endometrial cancer is treatable, but just like any other cancer, even this cancer can recur.


Endometrial Cancer Support


Apart from the medical treatments, emotional support plays an equal role in recovery from cancer. The many side-effects associated with the treatments can distress the patient physically and mentally. Knowing that there are people to support you in these difficult times can put them at ease. You can even consider joining cancer support groups and learn from other’s experiences. It will provide motivation, strength and support to deal with the disease. Counselling with a therapist can be equally helpful and comforting.


Endometrial Cancer Prevention

There are not many preventive measures for endometrial cancer. However, if you fall under any of the risk factors categories, make sure to take care of those.

Manage your weight: Eating healthy and regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can prove beneficial.

Manage other conditions: In case you have metabolic syndrome or diabetes, then take the necessary treatments to keep it under control.

Manage PCOS: PCOS is not curable, but it is manageable. Hence, take the required treatments and adopt some lifestyle changes to manage your PCOS symptoms.

Inform your doctor if you have a history of Lynch Syndrome: Discuss the preventive measures with your doctor if you have a family history of Lynch syndrome.

Reconsider using estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause: As it can have certain repercussions, it is advisable to understand the advantages and disadvantages before taking it. Your doctor can explain this to you further in this matter.

Apart from these, maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat healthy meals and exercise regularly to stay fit.


FAQs about endometrial cancer

Can one become pregnant after endometrial cancer?


It is rare for endometrial cancer to occur in young women. If it happens and the woman still wishes to have children, the doctor will make a decision depending on your condition. Only in low-risk scenarios, the doctor may allow the woman to have a baby. However, be ready for a change of plans in case the disease progresses.


Does endometrial cancer affect the menstrual cycle?


Endometrial cancer mostly affects post-menopausal women. Therefore, there is not much relation between endometrial cancer and menstruation.


Is endometrial cancer fatal?


During the late stages of endometrial cancer, its progression is fast. If a woman has reached such a stage, it can prove fatal.


Is there a way to detect endometrial cancer early?


There are no screening tests available for endometrial cancer. But as vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom, endometrial cancer is detected at relatively early stages.


Bottom line

To conclude, endometrial cancer can be detected early due to visible symptoms such as vaginal bleeding. Hence, visit your doctor at the earliest if you notice any abnormalities. Preventive measures are not a lot but staying healthy and fit is of utmost importance.

Disclaimer : This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

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