Endometrial cancer - Myths and Facts by Dr. Pallavi Redhu

Understanding Endometrial Cancer Risk Factors: Debunking Common Myths

Endometrial Cancer Risk Factors

Endometrial cancer, or uterine cancer, is primarily linked to hormonal imbalances and other factors. Some of the risk factors include:

Age: Endometrial cancer is more common in postmenopausal women, typically over the age of 50.

Obesity: Excess body weight is associated with increased estrogen levels, which can contribute to the development of endometrial cancer.

Hormonal Factors: Conditions that result in higher levels of estrogen without an opposing hormone, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or estrogen therapy without progesterone, can increase the risk.

Diabetes: Women with diabetes are at a higher risk, possibly due to insulin resistance and higher levels of insulin.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Long-term use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy without progesterone may increase the risk.

Lynch Syndrome: This genetic condition increases the risk of several types of cancer, including endometrial cancer.

Tamoxifen Use: Women who have taken tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer, may have a slightly higher risk.

Personal and Family History: A history of endometrial, ovarian, or colorectal cancer in the family, or a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, may increase the risk.

Endometrial Cancer Treatment Options:

The treatment of endometrial cancer depends on factors such as the stage of cancer, overall health, and personal preferences. Treatment options include:

Surgery: The primary treatment for endometrial cancer is often surgery. This can involve a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), and in some cases, removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Lymph node removal may also be done to determine if the cancer has spread.

Radiation Therapy: This involves using high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells. It can be administered externally (external beam radiation) or internally (brachytherapy).

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or stop their growth. It is usually recommended if the cancer has spread beyond the uterus.

Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy can be used for women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer. It involves medications that affect hormone levels to slow down cancer growth.

Targeted Therapy: Some advanced cases of endometrial cancer might be treated with targeted therapies that specifically target certain molecules involved in cancer growth.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy boosts the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. It’s being explored as a potential treatment option for certain types of endometrial cancer.

It’s important to note that treatment plans are personalized for each individual. Your healthcare team will consider your specific diagnosis and circumstances to determine the most appropriate treatment approach. If you or someone you know is dealing with endometrial cancer, consulting with a medical professional is crucial for developing a comprehensive treatment strategy tailored to your needs.

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT ENDOMETRIAL CANCER

Uterine cancer is a malignancy that arises from the uterus. There are two types of cancer originating from the uterus that are uterine sarcoma and endometrial cancer.

Endometrial cancers are the most common uterine cancer which originates from the inner lining of the uterus.

Myth 1: Endometrial Cancer Only Affects Older Women

Fact: Endometrial cancers predominantly occur in postmenopausal women but it can affect women of all ages, including those who are premenopausal. In females with high-risk features like hereditary BRCA1or 2 gene mutation or HNCPP, endometrial cancer can present in younger age group

Myth 2: Endometrial Cancer and Cervical Cancer are the same and synonyms

Fact: No, both of them are different entities. Endometrial cancer originates in the lining of the uterus (endometrium), while cervical cancer develops in the cervix. They are distinct types of cancer with different risk factors, symptoms, and treatment approaches.

Myth 3: All Vaginal Bleeding is a Sign of Endometrial Cancer

Fact: While abnormal vaginal bleeding, particularly postmenopausal bleeding, can be a symptom of endometrial cancer, there are many other possible causes for vaginal bleeding, such as hormonal imbalances, polyps, fibroids, or infections. A key finding of cervical cancer is post-coital bleed whereas in endometrial cancer the bleeding is irrespective of coitus.

Myth 4: Only Obese Women are at Risk for Endometrial Cancer

Fact: While obesity is a significant risk factor, other factors like hormonal imbalances, genetic predisposition, and certain medical conditions can also increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

Myth 5: All Cases of Endometrial Cancer Require Hysterectomy

Fact: Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is a common treatment for endometrial cancer, but it’s not always necessary. Depending on the stage and type of cancer, other treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy might be recommended.

Myth 6: Pap Smears Can Detect Endometrial Cancer

Fact: Pap smears are designed to detect cervical cancer, not endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical exams, imaging tests, and biopsies.

Myth 7: Endometrial Cancer is Always Hereditary

Fact: While a family history of endometrial or other related cancers can increase your risk, the majority of cases are not due to a hereditary cause. Many endometrial cancers develop due to a combination of factors including lifestyle, hormonal changes, and genetics.

Myth 8: Endometrial Cancer is Not Curable

Fact: The outcome of endometrial cancer treatment varies depending on factors like stage, type, and overall health. Many cases are caught early and successfully treated, leading to remission or cure.

Myth 9: There’s Nothing You Can Do to Prevent Endometrial Cancer

Fact: There are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Regular check up
  • In high risk, risk reduction surgeries

It’s essential to rely on accurate and evidence-based information when it comes to health matters. If you have concerns about endometrial cancer or any other health issue, consult with the best endometrial cancer Specialist for proper guidance and diagnosis.