Endometrial cancer is cancer in the lining of a woman’s uterus, or womb. In 2009, The National Cancer Institute estimated that over 42,000 new cases were diagnosed, and 7,780 women died from endometrial cancer. Make sure you know the endometrial cancer risk factors.
Symptoms of endometrial cancer
Cancer of the uterus, including endometrial cancer, typically begins after a woman goes into menopause. It can also begin around the time that menopause starts. Symptoms of endometrial cancer include:
• Bleeding – Abnormal vaginal bleeding may start out watery and gradually become more bloody. This can also include bleeding between normal periods before menopause, or bleeding after menopause. Abnormal bleeding or vaginal discharge should not be considered a normal part of menopause.
• Urination – Difficulty passing urine or pain while urinating may be symptoms of this type of cancer.
• Pain during intercourse
• Pelvic pain
These symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious conditions, so it’s important to see your doctor to determine the cause.
Diagnosing endometrial cancer
Your doctor may order one or more tests to determine if endometrial cancer is present:
• Pelvic exam – The doctor checks the vagina, uterus, bladder, and rectum by feeling the organs to check for lumps or other changes, and by looking into the vagina for visible symptoms.
• Pap test – The doctor collects cells from the cervix (bottom portion of the uterus) and vagina (birth canal) and sends them to the lab where they are examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells.
• Transvaginal ultrasound – The doctor uses an instrument inserted into the vagina to send high-frequency sound waves into the uterus.