Endometrial cancer, or uterine cancer, is a form of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus. Fortunately, endometrial cancer is usually detected at an early stage due to the somewhat alarming symptom of vaginal bleeding, prompting women to see their doctor. Endometrial cancer may be cured in its early stages by surgical removal of the uterus.
Signs and symptoms
As mentioned above, a primary symptom of endometrial cancer is vaginal bleeding. Of course this is to be distinguished from a regular period. There are a number of other symptoms. If any arise, it is wise to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
- Vaginal discharge that is watery or blood-tinged
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding post menopause
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
Testing and diagnosis
There are many tests a doctor may do in the diagnosis of endometrial cancer. Each form of uterine cancer screening gives the doctor insight into what may be causing the above signs and symptoms, so even if endometrial cancer is not present, treatment can begin to handle whatever is causing the symptoms. These tests include:
- A gynecological examination of the pelvic region. The doctor will use techniques to feel the uterus and ovaries, and may also use a speculum to observe the inside of the vagina and cervix for abnormalities.
- A transvaginal ultrasound can be helpful as part of a uterine cancer screening in examining the thickness and texture of the uterine lining. This can detect conditions besides endometrial cancer, helping to narrow down the cause of symptoms.
- A hysteroscopy may be used to visually examine the interior of the uterus. During this uterine cancer screening procedure, the doctor inserts a hysteroscope into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. This hysteroscope has a light and camera on the end allowing for full observation of the uterus.
- And endometrial biopsy may be necessary to fully diagnose what is causing the symptoms. In this uterine cancer screening procedure, a sample from the uterine lining is extracted so it may be used for laboratory analysis.
In the case that cancer is confirmed, the next step is to see a qualified doctor to plan and begin endometrial cancer treatment.
Endometrial Cancer Treatment
Treatment for endometrial cancer will vary depending upon the severity and nature of the disease. The Beverly Hills Cancer Center has highly experienced doctors providing among the best endometrial cancer treatment Los Angeles has available. Treatment options include:
- Surgery to remove the uterus, which usually is able to completely eliminate the disease. The obvious disadvantage here is that the patient will no longer be able to have children. During this surgery, the surgeon will inspect the areas around your uterus to ensure the cancer has not spread.
- Radiation therapy can be effective from both an external radiation source and an internal one. In external radiation therapy, a machine outside the body directs focused radiation to specific points with the goal of eradicating cancerous cells. In internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, a radiation-emanating device is place within the body, close to the cancer.
- Hormone therapy is used to alter hormonal secretions in the body and is part of the endometrial cancer treatment available at our private Los Angeles facility. In the case of endometrial cancer, hormonal therapy would include medication to increase progesterone and reduce estrogen.
- Chemotherapy, for targeted drug use. Chemotherapy may be administered orally or intravenously.
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