Endometrial cancer occurs when cells in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus, grow out of control. Endometrial cancer is the most common type of uterine cancer and sometimes it is simply called uterine cancer.
Endometrial Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis
Women may not feel any symptoms during the early stages of endometrial cancer. As the cancer progresses, however, endometrial cancer symptoms may include:
- irregular vaginal bleeding, such as spotting or bleeding between periods or bleeding after menopause
- unusual vaginal discharge
- pelvic pain
- a mass in the region of the uterus
- unexplained weight loss
Endometrial cancer diagnostic tests may include:
- Pelvic exam to check for abnormal areas or lumps around your vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum
- Biopsy – a small tissue sample is taken from the inner lining of the uterus. Usually, a thin tube is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, and a sample is gently scraped off for examination under a microscope by a pathologist.
- Transvaginal ultrasound – procedure in which sound waves are bounced off internal tissues or organs, such as the uterus. The wave echoes form an image of body tissues called a sonogram.
Endometrial Cancer Treatment
Endometrial cancer treatment will vary depending on the stage of the disease and your personal medical history and preferences. However, it may include:
- Surgery to remove the tumor. This may involve a total hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus and cervix), bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (surgery to remove both ovaries and both fallopian tubes), and/or radical hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus, cervix, and part of the vagina).
- Radiation therapy – uses focused, high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing
- Chemotherapy – the use of drugs to stop cancer cells from multiplying in the body
- Hormone therapy – medications that remove hormones or block their action to stop cancer cells from growing
- Targeted therapy – the use of drugs or other substances to more precisely identify and attack the cancer cells or genetic mutations specific to your tumor sub-type
Gynecologic Oncology ProgramOur program provides patients access to innovative therapeutics and advanced surgical procedures that are setting a new standard for the management of gynecologic cancer in Boston.