What is the first signs of womb cancer? Can a smear test detect womb cancer? Well, women out there, please listen up and take note! Or if you are a man reading this, please inform your mother, sisters, wife, friends and female colleagues about what we are to tell you about womb cancer. This cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus. And we would like to shed light to some of the common womb cancer symptoms and signs.
What Is Womb Cancer?
Cancer of the womb or uterine cancer is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It’s also called endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer occurs in the lining of the uterus, shown above in the illustration of the female reproductive system. According to Cancer Research UK, 1 out of 41 women will be diagnosed with womb cancer during their lifetime.
Ernest Han, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor and surgeon in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at City of Hope has said that “uterine cancer is very treatable when it is diagnosed in time.” Unlike ovarian cancer, the “silent killer”, this womb cancer loudly announces its existence through hard-to-miss clues. If womb cancer is discovered early, removing the uterus surgically often cures endometrial cancer.
What Are The Causes Of Womb Cancer?
- Changes in the balance of female hormones in the body.
Your ovaries produces two main female hormones which are the oestrogen and progesterone. Variations in the balance of these hormones cause changes in your uterus.
- More years of menstruation.
If you begin menstruating at an early age — before the age of 12 — or beginning to have your menopause far ahead increases the risk of womb cancer. The more periods you’ve had, the more exposure your endometrium has had to oestrogen!
Being obese increases your risk of uterine cancer. This may occur because of the excess body fat changes your body’s balance of hormones.
- Hormone therapy for breast cancer.
Women with breast cancer who take the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen have a higher risk of developing womb cancer. If you’re taking tamoxifen, please consider to discuss this risk with your doctor. For most women, the benefits of tamoxifen outweigh the small risk of womb cancer.
- Never having been pregnant.
Women who have never been pregnant have a higher risk of womb cancer than do women who have had at least one pregnancy.
What Are The Usual Womb Cancer Symptoms And Signs?
Unusual vaginal bleeding.
This the most common symptom of all which you notice through a few occurrence such as bleeding after the menopause, bleeding in between periods, heavier periods than usual–if you haven’t been through the menopause—and a watery or bloody vaginal discharge.
- As for post-menopausal women, it can take a while to adjust to what is now ‘normal’ in relations of your vaginal discharge. If you are not certain, the best way of action is to approach your doctor or nurse to ask if the bleeding is normal.
- Please be aware that not all women with unusual bleeding will have a gynaecological cancer.
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Discomfort Or Pain In The Pelvic Area.
Experts said that the less common womb cancer symptoms and signs include pain in the pelvic area or pain during intercourse.
How is it diagnosed?
You should visit your General Practitioner if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding. Though it’s not likely to be caused by cancer of the womb, it’s best to be sure. Sometimes women will overlook their uterine cancer symptoms because they have recently had a cervix cancer smear and it was clear. However, the condition cannot be picked up by the cervical smear because the smear test only looks for irregularities at the cervix, looking for complications with the cervix; whereas womb cancer develops deeper into the body in the womb lining: the endometrium.
Thus, even if you have had a clear smear test very recently, if you are bleeding erratically or experiencing unusual discharge, your womb could be signalling there’s a problem, so it’s important to get it checked.
To do so, your General Practitioner will most possibly do a physical examination of your pelvic area, including your vagina, womb, ovaries, and bladder. They will ask about the nature of your womb cancer symptoms and signs, when they happen, and how often. Here we have listed a few ways to diagnose the cancer.
- Transvaginal ultrasound (TVU)
– TVU is a type of ultrasound scan that uses a small scanner and it would be placed directly into the vagina to achieve an in depth picture of the inside of the uterus, the examination can feel a little uncomfortable for those yet to have sex or women with vaginismus, but shouldn’t be painful. The TVU checks whether there are any alterations to the thickness of the lining of your uterus that could be affected by the presence of cancerous cells.
- Biopsy– If the results of the TVU detect changes in the thickness of the lining of the womb, you will usually have a biopsy to get a diagnosis. A biopsy includes removing a sample of cells from the inside of the womb. The sample is then checked at a laboratory to get a diagnosis.
-This involves a minor surgical process carried out under general anaesthetic, where some tissue from the womb lining is biopsied. Sometimes it is not possible to take a biopsy in the casualty clinic and some women choose to have this done with an anaesthetic.
What Are The Nutritional Considerations For Womb Cancer?
As with numerous cancers, the risk for uterine cancers appears to be related with larger intakes of foods found in Western diets like animal products, and refined carbohydrates. The risk for this cancer to occur seems lower among women whose diets are high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. In other words, women who are vegetarians.
The lower risk in persons eating plant-based diets may be related to a reduced amount of free hormones mingling in the blood or to a protective effect of micronutrients found in these diets.
The 5-year survival rate for womb cancers is high, predominantly with early recognition and treatment. The family may support the patient’s obedience to diet and exercise recommendations by embracing the same practices, which are likely to improve their health as well. Some indication suggests that to prevent the womb cancer symptoms and signs from ever appearing in your life, following a low-fat, plant-based diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise may reduce the risk of this disease. Oh and get a medical insurance plan to top it off, a reasonably priced one at it! As we have said earlier, prevention of any disease is better than treatment.
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