Over 60,000 women are diagnosed with uterine cancer in the United States each year. The vast majority of uterine cancer diagnoses are for endometrial cancer, found in the lining of the uterus.
With early detection, endometrial cancer has a 5-year survival rate of over 80%. However, early detection is often dependent on knowing the signs and symptoms of various cancer types. Uterine cancer can be spotted early by changes in periods, although these changes are not always caused by cancer. Here are some of the keys to spotting uterine cancer symptoms, and knowing when to seek medical attention.
Uterine Cancer Symptoms
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
One of the most common symptoms of uterine cancer is abnormal bleeding between periods. Spotting, changes in periods, or other types of discharge can all be signs of uterine cancer.
However, uterine cancer is not the only possible cause of changes in your period. Changes in hormones, pregnancy, increased stress, and some illnesses can affect your menstrual cycle. With that said, it is very important to be mindful that such changes may also be symptoms of uterine cancer. But these are not the only possible uterine cancer symptoms.
Bleeding After Menopause
If you have experienced menopause and still experience vaginal bleeding, this may be a sign of uterine cancer. If this is the case, you should seek a diagnosis as soon as possible.
Another common symptom of uterine cancer is pain in the pelvis. Patients usually report that the pain from uterine cancer is moderate to severe, and can sometimes spread to the abdomen. Experiencing such pain in combination with abnormal vaginal bleeding can often be a sign of uterine cancer.
Unexpected Weight Loss
Lastly, some women may experience unexpected weight loss when fighting uterine cancer. However, unexpected weight loss is another symptom that could have a wide number of causes. In combination with the other symptoms mentioned above, weight loss can be a sign of uterine cancer. Women should seek a diagnosis as quickly as possible if they experience unexplained weight loss along with unexplained changes in periods.
When to See a Doctor About Symptoms of Uterine Cancer
Knowing when to see a doctor about uterine cancer symptoms can be tricky. As mentioned, the most common symptoms of uterine cancer could have several other potential causes. With that said, it is always best to be vigilant when it comes to cancer detection. If you experience any of the above symptoms in combination, or for a prolonged period, you should seek medical attention.
Knowing the potential risk factors of uterine cancer is also key when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Here are a few of the most important risk factors associated with uterine cancer.
Changes in estrogen or progesterone have an impact on the uterus lining. Irregular ovulation, hormone supplements, or other hormonal disorders can all increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Obesity can lead to hormonal imbalances within the body. In some cases, this can lead to the development of uterine cancer.
Most cases of endometrial cancer occur after menopause. As a result, the risk of developing uterine cancer increases as you age. It is important to be more vigilant when it comes to monitoring for signs of uterine cancer post-menopause.
Extended Menstruation Range
Starting menstruation at a young age, or entering menopause at an older age than normal can increase the risk of uterine cancer. This is because each period you’ve experienced exposes the uterus lining to estrogen. The more often this happens, the greater the risk of developing cancer.
Read more about the potential causes of bleeding between periods to learn more about when to seek treatment. Or, read about BASS Medical Group’s gynecologic oncology treatment to learn more about female reproductive health.