Everything You Need To Know About Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer, commonly referred to as endometrial cancer, is diagnosed in more than three million women across the world each year. Overall, it is the 14th most common type of cancer and 4th most common cancer that affects women.Uterine cancer is typically diagnosed in its early stages and thus, it is easier to start treatment on time. This is why the 5-year survival rate among women suffering from uterine cancer is quite high, around 90 percent. As the name suggests, uterine cancer begins in the uterus or the womb, a part of the female reproductive system where fetal growth and development takes place after fertilization and implantation. This page talks about everything that you need to know about uterine cancer – types, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and survival rate.
This article talks everything about Uterine Cancer Treatment In India, Uterine Cancer Hospitals In India & what is the Uterine Cancer Costs In India? It covers other popular destinations as well.
Uterine cancer is typically diagnosed in its early stages and thus, it is easier to start treatment on time. This is why the 5-year survival rate among women suffering from uterine cancer is quite high, around 90 percent.
As the name suggests, uterine cancer begins in the uterus or the womb, a part of the female reproductive system where fetal growth and development takes place after fertilisation and implantation.
This page talks about everything that you need to know about uterine cancer – types, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and survival rate.
Types of Uterine Cancer
There are two types of uterine cancer, differentiated on the basis of their site of origin. These are:
- Endometrial cancer : This type of uterine cancer initiates in the lining of the uterus knows as endometrium. Endometrial cancer is the most common form of uterine cancer and accounts for 95 percent of all the cases.
- Uterine sarcoma: This is a rare type of uterine cancer that initiates in other tissues or muscles of the uterus. It accounts for only 5 percent of all uterine cancer cases.
When does uterine cancer form?
Uterine cancer forms when there is an abnormal growth of cells in the lining of the uterus or any other tissue. It usually affects women aged above 50 years.
What causes uterine cancer?
As far as endometrial cancer is concerned, it results because of hormonal imbalance in females. In a majority of women diagnosed with this type of uterine cancer, the levels of oestrogen exceed the levels of progesterone.
This imbalance causes an excess growth of cells in the uterine lining, resulting in its thickening. Cancer starts to develop if the lining is not shed and continues to remain thick over a period of time.
The mass of cells accumulated within the uterus can even metastasize, that is, detach itself and travel to other organs. Therefore, if left untreated, the tumor can spread to other parts of the body as well.
Genetic changes within the endometrial layer of the uterine wall are also known to trigger abnormal multiplication of cells, which may lead to cancer.
There is no direct cause behind the development of uterine sarcomas. However, scientists have identified that it may occur because of certain changes in the DNA that trigger rapid multiplication of cells of the uterus.
Uterine Cancer: Symptoms
The most symptoms associated with endometrial cancer include:
- Pelvic pain
- Abnormal discharge from vagina, typically blood-stained or watery
- Abnormal bleeding even after menopause
- Abnormal bleeding in between two menstrual cycles
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Uterine Cancer: Risk Factors
There are certain conditions and circumstances that increases the tendency of a woman to develop uterine cancer. Some of these factors include:
- Hormonal imbalance: Women with estrogen-progesterone hormonal imbalance are at an increased risk of developing uterine cancer. This imbalance can be triggered by a number of reason, including diabetes, obesity and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Long menstrual years: Women who have had periods before 12 years of age and those who enter menopause late are also at risk. This is because greater the number of menstrual cycles, greater the number of times uterine wall gets exposed to estrogen.
- Age: The risk of endometrial cancer increases with age.
- Obesity: Excessive weight keeps hormonal imbalance out of place, thus resulting in growth of extra cells in the uterus.
- Absent motherhood: Women who have not been pregnant even once are at an increased risk of uterine cancer.
- Breast cancer: Women who are prescribed tamoxifen as a part of hormonal therapy for breast cancer treatment are also at an increased risk of uterine cancer.
- Genetics: Women who inherit the gene for nonpolyposis colorectal cancer are at an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including uterine cancer.
Uterine Cancer: Diagnosis
- Pelvic exam: During a pelvic exam, a doctor typically looks at the outer genitals and then inserts a tube-like device or two fingers to conduct an internal examination of the vagina, uterus and ovaries. This enables doctor to check for any swelling, abnormal growth or protrusion in the uterus.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: In this type of diagnostic test, the doctor inserts a device called transducer to examine the uterus and check for any abnormalities in the endometrium. The device passes sound waves to create an image of the uterus on screen.
- Hysteroscopy: In this test, a thin tube-like device called hysteroscope is inserted into the uterus through the vagina. The device is attached to a lens that allows the doctor to see the endometrium and the uterus.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is conducted by removing a piece of tissue from the endometrium and looking it under the microscope to confirm cancer cells. This step confirms the presence or absence of uterine cancer.
- Dilation and curettage (D&C): This procedure is conducted only when biopsy results are unclear or when a piece of tissue cannot be obtained for it. During D&C, the vagina is dilated and a needle-like device is inserted to scrape off a few cells of the uterus. The cells are then observed under a microscope to confirm uterine cancer diagnosis.
Uterine Cancer: Staging
The next step after uterine cancer diagnosis is to stage the cancer, that is, to identify the extent of the cancer. The stage of cancer dictates the treatment that doctor will follow or advice.
Uterine cancer staging is done with the help of certain diagnostic tests, such as X-Ray, CT scan, blood tests or a PET scan. However, there are cases in which the actual stage is determine only when the patient undergoes a surgery for treatment.
The following are the four stages of uterine cancer:
Stage 1: Cancer is restricted just to the uterus.
Stage 2: Cancer is present in the uterus as well as the cervix.
Stage 3: Cancer has spread beyond the uterus, sometimes to the pelvis and lymph nodes but not bladder and rectum.
Stage 4: Cancer had spread to more distal parts, including the rectum, bladder and other organs.
Uterine Cancer Treatment in India
The course of treatment taken by the doctor depends on the extent of your cancer, its stage, type, characteristics, the age of the patient and the overall health to tolerate specific kind of treatment.
Typically, there are four different types of treatment for uterine cancer. These uterine cancer treatment options are often conducted in combination with each other.
- Surgery: This is the most common form of treatment for uterine cancer. Typically during a surgery, the uterus is removed along with ovaries and the Fallopian tubes. As a result, the patient is unable to produce children after the surgery and experienced menopause due to the absence of ovaries. During a surgery, the doctor also examines the nearby tissues and organs in case spread of cancer is suspected. The lymph nodes may also be examined at the same time.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment may be conducted after a surgery to reduce the chances of cancer recurrence. It may also be conducted as a standalone treatment in case the patient is not healthy enough or eligible for surgery.
Radiation therapy is typically performed with the help of a machine places outside the body that transmits powerful x-ray beams to kill off cancer cells. However, it may also be conducted with the help of a radiation device placed inside the vagina for a short period of time.
- Chemotherapy: This type of treatment makes use of drugs to kill off cancer cells. Patients either receive a single drug or a combination of drugs administered orally or injected intravenously. Chemotherapy is typically advised in cases where cancer has spread beyond the uterus.
- Hormone therapy: This type of treatment works by regulating the hormone levels in the body and is advised in case cancer has spread beyond the uterus. Hormones are administered to either increase the amount of progesterone in the body or to decrease the amount of oestrogen.
Uterine Cancer Treatment Cost in India
The average cost of uterine cancer treatment in India is around $6000 -$7000. This is multifold less than what it costs in any other developed country, including the UK, US, Canada, Singapore and UAE.
Each year, thousands of patients from around the world travel to India to get treated for uterine cancer. The medical staff in India is highly experienced in handling all forms of cancer cases and the hospitals are equipped to handle any kind of emergency. All these state-of-the-art facilities at nominal cost is one of the major reasons why people travel thousands of miles to get themselves treated in India.
Best hospitals for uterine cancer treatment in India, Thailand, Malaysia & UAE
Uterine Cancer Survival Rates
It is easier to diagnose and treat uterine cancer in its early stages, and for the same reason, the survival rate associated with this type of cancer is much greater than other types of cancer.
It is estimated that the survival rate among uterine cancer patients within first five years of diagnosis is between 80 and 90 percent. The 10 year survival rate, on the other hand, is around 79 percent. This is true for cases where the cancer is restricted to the uterus.
In case cancer has spread to other regional areas, the 5 years survival rate is around 68 percent. The chances of survival in case cancer have spread to more distal areas is just 17 percent.