What is uterine or endometrial cancer?
The word matrix is the most common way of naming the uterus.
The uterus is made up of:
- The cervix
- The uterine body (the cavity where the pregnancies are lodged).
The cancer that affects the cervix is related to papillomavirus, this issue we have developed in other entries .
Endometrial cancer is one of the cancers that originates in the body of the uterus or womb, particularly in the mucosa (membrane) that covers it Medical Definitions, which is called the endometrium. It occurs more frequently in women older than 50 years (usually after menopause). It is a cancer that rarely occurs before 40 years of age.
Which women are most at risk?
Endometrial cancer is a frequent cancer but its causes have not yet been identified. However, groups of women who have a higher risk of suffering from it have been identified, such as:
- Women over 50 years of age,
- Diabetics (high blood sugar),
- Sterile women or who have not had children
- Women who started menstruating before age 12
- Women over 50 with persistent menstruation
- Women who have received hormonal treatments with estrogen and / or progesterone or with Tamoxifen (medicine used in the treatment of breast cancer).
Although these characteristics are more frequent in women with endometrial cancer. We must remember that a healthy, thin woman with many children can also suffer from this cancer, although it is more rare to observe it in this type of woman.
Therefore, it is important not to neglect the gynecological medical visit in front of any unexpected vaginal bleeding.
How can I suspect a uterine or endometrial cancer?
The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This may be rare, may appear between menses (rules) or be a heavy bleeding (more common in menopausal women). This abnormal bleeding is an early manifestation of the disease. The advantage is that if it is recognized early, this helps to be able to select less aggressive treatments.
All women over 40 with heavy bleeding or with an increase in the number of menses or with bleeding between menstrual cycles should go to gynecological medical consultation to be evaluated.
What is normal vaginal bleeding in the transition to menopause?
The inner cavity of the matrix is covered by the endometrium. This mucosa is renewed during the menstrual cycle and is eliminated in each menstruation or period. This pattern of bleeding changes when the woman starts approaching the menopause, the bleeds become smaller and more spaced in time, until finally they stop. All this is a normal transition to menopause.
If you are around 50 years old and you start with abundant, irregular, or many days of bleeding, it is important to do a study, since other causes related to endometrial cancer may be involved, although the most common is an onset of disorders related to endometrial cancer.
Is it normal to bleed during menopause?
No, there should not be any vaginal bleeding in menopausal women, that is, in women over 50 years of age in whom menstruation or menstruation has ceased for more than a year.
Therefore, the important message is that if you have not had the rule for more than a year , and you begin to lose scant, or even similar to when you had the rule, it is important that you go to your gynecologist , to make a follow up and assess what is causing it.
Although there are other common benign causes that can cause bleeding such as:
1) atrophy of the womb (thinning and dryness of the uterus, and even of the vaginal walls and outer lips of the vulva) or
2) polyps (benign bulges that are sometimes formed in the uterine cavity).
An adequate medical examination can reassure you and ensure that proper treatment is performed.
What do you do when these symptoms appear?
The gynecologist will perform a physical examination and assess through an ultrasound how is the mucosa of the endometrium, the body of the uterus and the attached organs (tubes and ovaries).
Remember that ultrasound is a test that does not hurt and is used very frequently, for example, in the monitoring of pregnancies. If it is considered necessary, the doctor will request or take in the same visit a small piece of the mucosa (biopsy). This procedure does not require anesthesia or prior preparation. Other tests may be recommended based on what is observed in these tests.
Finally, the most important thing is that in the face of abnormal bleeding; do not be afraid and go to your doctor. Delaying a diagnosis can only hurt you. The statistics of this cancer show a very high level of cure if diagnosed at the beginning. I wish we could say this about other diseases!