Recognizing Uterine Cancer
It’s one of the most common gynecologic cancers doctors see. Each year, nearly 42,000 new cases are diagnosed. Uterine cancer develops from the inner portion of the uterine lining.
Dr. Edward Grendys, a gynecologic oncologist on the medical staff of Lee Health, says fortunately it’s one of the most curable diseases. However, there’s no screening for uterine cancer. The common misconception is that pap smears screen for the disease. It’s actually found when patients recognize the symptoms. “Post-menopausal bleeding, spotting, vaginal discharge all of these warrant some form of evaluation. Typically we say that above the age of 40 if the menstrual periods become significantly irregular, or more frequent, or heavier, it should at least be mentioned.”
Uterine cancer can be prevented. It’s believed to be caused by obesity. “Obesity is definitely a risk factor and it’s because of the endogenous form of estrogen formed within our tissues,” said Dr. Grendys.
Obesity increases estrogen, which can lead to uterine cancer. While doctors say a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help prevent the disease, they are able to help treat the disease if patients are diagnosed. “Overall we expect to cure in the neighborhood of 90 to 92 percent of all patients who present with the disease,” said Dr. Grendys.
Treatments typically consist of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. If a patient is at risk for developing uterine cancer, doctors recommend they modify their diet and lifestyle, and take control of their diabetes.
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