Posted September 15, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 5 min read
Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium. Obesity and having metabolic syndrome may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Doctors don’t know what causes endometrial cancer.
What’s known is that something occurs to create changes (mutations) in the DNA of cells in the endometrium the lining of the uterus.
The mutation turns normal, healthy cells into abnormal cells. Healthy cells grow and multiply at a set rate, eventually dying at a set time.
Abnormal cells grow and multiply out of control, and they don’t die at a set time.
The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor).
Cancer cells invade nearby tissues and can separate from an initial tumor to spread elsewhere in the body (metastasize).
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer may include:
Vaginal bleeding after menopause
Bleeding between periods
The removal of tissue from the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) by inserting a thin, flexible tube through the cervix and into the uterus.
The tube is used to gently scrape a small amount of tissue from the endometrium and then remove the tissue samples.
A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
Dilatation and curettage
A procedure to remove samples of tissue from the inner lining of the uterus.
The cervix is dilated and a curette (spoon-shaped instrument) is inserted into the uterus to remove tissue.
The tissue samples are checked under a microscope for signs of disease. This procedure is also called a D&C.
A procedure to look inside the uterus for abnormal areas.
A hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus.
A hysteroscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing.
It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.
An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
CT scan (CAT scan)
A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles.
The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine.
A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly.
This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
PET scan (positron emission tomography scan)
A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body.
Surgery to remove the uterus, including the cervix.
If the uterus and cervix are taken out through the vagina, the operation is called a vaginal hysterectomy.
If the uterus and cervix are taken out through a large incision (cut) in the abdomen, the operation is called a total abdominal hysterectomy.
If the uterus and cervix are taken out through a small incision (cut) in the abdomen using a laparoscope, the operation is called a total laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Surgery to remove both ovaries and both fallopian tubes.
Surgery to remove the uterus, cervix, and part of the vagina. The ovaries, fallopian tubes, or nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.
Lymph node dissection
A surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed from the pelvic area and a sample of tissue is checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. This procedure is also called lymphadenectomy.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy:
- External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the area of the body with cancer.
- Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer.
The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. External and internal radiation therapy are used to treat endometrial cancer, and may also be used as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.
When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).
Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing.
Hormones are substances made by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream.
Some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow.
If tests show that the cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (receptors), drugs, surgery, or radiation therapy is used to reduce the production of hormones or block them from working.
Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells. Targeted therapies usually cause less harm to normal cells than chemotherapy or radiation therapy do.