Cancer is a result of cells in specific parts of the body growing abnormally due to a number of reasons. Uterine cancer, also referred to as endometrial cancer, is the cancer that starts in the uterus. The uterus is part of the female reproductive system and is the organ where a fetus grows and develops.
Uterine cancer starts when the growth of the cells in the inner or outer lining of the uterus becomes out of control. Herein is a detailed and comprehensive account on uterine cancer symptoms and what you need to look out for.
TYPES OF CANCERS OF THE UTERUS
In order to properly understand uterine cancer symptoms you need to know the types as well as the associated risk factors. There are two main types of cancer of the uterus; uterine sarcomas and endometrial carcinomas.
Uterine sarcomas start in the outer/muscle layer (myometrium) or supportive connective tissues of the uterus. Endometrial carcinomas start in the cells of the inner lining (endometrium) of the uterus. Most reported cases of uterine cancer symptoms will usually be as a result of endometrial carcinomas.
UTERINE CANCER SYMPTOMS
Cancer of the uterus often has very few primary symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Some of the symptoms become more common as the cancer progresses to the advanced stages. The symptoms may include:
UNUSUAL VAGINAL BLEEDING
Abnormal vaginal bleeding happens to be the most commonly exhibited symptom by women afflicted with uterine cancer. It is very important to note that this alone cannot be an indicator of this cancer. Many other gynecologic conditions including ovarian and cervical cancers, polyps, fibroid tumors and cervical inflammation manifest as unusual vaginal bleeding. Therefore, if you experience this symptom it is important that you seek immediate medical counsel.
Many women are often confused as to what exactly constitutes abnormal vaginal bleeding. There are several instances that you can consider vaginal bleeding abnormal. If you experience heavy periods that last for more than two cycles, you should consult a doctor. Other women may experience sudden heavy vaginal bleeding that leads to usage of at least one sanitary pad per hour for prolonged periods of time. This occurrence necessitates immediate physical checkup.
You should also look out for bleeding between periods where you exhibit either heavy spotting or an extra cycle in a month. Also, any bleeding that you experience during and/or after sex can be considered unusual vaginal bleeding. This can be an indicator of uterine, vaginal or cervical cancer. Women who have already gone through menopause should be particularly watchful for vaginal bleeding.
Another common uterine cancer symptom is vaginal discharge (non-bloody). It is inadvisable to assume that because you lack blood in the discharge, you are safe from uterine cancer. In a considerable percentage of cases, the vaginal discharge that is associated with uterine cancer does not contain blood. It is recommendable that all women report abnormal vaginal discharge to a physician more so when it is watery and accompanied with an unpleasant or offensive odor.
Pelvic pain manifests as a dull pressure or pain below the navel area. It is often persistent and occurs outside the menstrual periods. Such pains are also associated with ovarian, vaginal and cervical cancer. As such, it cannot be used as a stand-alone uterine cancer symptom. However, in the case of uterine cancer, pelvic pains will often manifest in the later stages of the cancer.
This is one of the uterine cancer symptoms that are ignored by many women. The swelling can indicate a tumor and by the time it manifests as bloating, the cancer has often progressed to advanced stages. Women should check out for bloating that prevents them from comfortably buttoning clothing.
WEIGHT LOSS AND FATIGUE
Losing weight unintentionally can also be a symptom of uterine cancer and mostly in the later stages. The losses are usually in the range of 10 pounds or more. A woman’s weight does fluctuate considerably throughout a month but anything over 10 pounds should warrant a visit to the doctor.