With all the amazing progress being made in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, there are still a few cancers that are increasing in prevalence and mortality.
Uterine cancer is one of them. Endometrial cancer (the most common type of uterine cancer is a cancer that occurs in the lining of the uterus. Fortunately, it is often detected in its earliest stages when it’s curable by surgery alone.
The CDC recently released a report on uterine cancer covering the years 1999-2016 (the last year for which data is available. The report found that the diagnosis of uterine cancer has increased 12% and the mortality from it has increased 21%. The rise in diagnosis and mortality affect all ethnic groups, but disproportionately affect African American and Hispanic women.
Risk factors for endometrial cancer include:
- Being overweight or obese
What should alert you to come in for evaluation:
- Irregular bleeding
- Before menopause, if you have bleeding between periods that lasts more than 2 cycles or occurs after sex
- Age 45 to menopause: any bleeding between periods, frequent bleeding that is less than 21 days apart, heavy bleeding or prolonged bleeding (more than 7 days)
- After menopause, any bleeding, even spotting
- Incidental finding, if you have a CT scan or ultrasound for some other reason and your physician tells you that “incidentally” the uterine lining was found to be thick, come in for consultation. In some cases, this warrants further evaluation.
Most women with irregular bleeding or thickened endometrial linings do NOT have cancer, however evaluation is easy to do based on your history, physical and sometimes an ultrasound or biopsy.
Catching endometrial cancer early saves lives. In its early stages it’s often cured with surgery alone.
Bottom line: do your best to maintain a normal weight and come in for evaluation if you have irregular bleeding.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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