Signs & Symptoms of Uterine Cancer (Cancer of the Uterus) My Mother's Story
What Is Uterine Cancer
Uterine Cancer is cancer of the uterus in the womb. The womb is where your baby grows inside when you are pregnant. Uterine cancer is also known as Endometrial cancer. The uterine cancer usually begins in the lining of the uterus, which is called the endometrium, hence the words endometrial cancer. Uterine cancer accounts for about 5 to 6% of women between the ages of 55 and 70. Abnormal bleeding after menopause is usually one of the first signs of a problem. Abnormal bleeding could also be from another condition of cancer (or something else such as Cervical Cancer or other gynecological cancer. You may read about cervical cancer information and stories at www.aboutcervicalcancer.com.
Cancer of The Uterus
Warning Signs Of Uterine Cancer
My mom had early warning signs of uterine cancer a long time ago. She was still going through menopause and it was hard to distinguish whether the vaginal bleeding was abnormal or normal because her periods were so sporadic because of the menopause and then her periods totally went away for a year or so. Then, she would start bleeding again, spotting, etc. This was a about a 2 or 3 year process. She would go to the Dr. and they put her on birth control pills to help stop her periodic bleeding believing it was troublesome menopause symptoms and not cancer of the uterus or ovarian cancer.
She worked full time and was getting ready for retirement and she only had a couple years left to do so. If she finished working those 2 years, she would get full retirement benefits and she worked at the company for 35 years and she did NOT want to throw it away. She was always a hard worker and had great work ethics, but unfortunately, her dedication to her work, should have been more dedicated to her health. Sometimes, taking a few less dollars for retirement benefits would make you much more wealthy because you would have your health and you can't put a price on that!
Diagram of Uterus
How Long Does It Take For Uterine Cancer To Start Showing Symptoms
My mom finally retired from work and received her long earned retirement pension (which to tell you the truth, isn't much more than if she would have retired those few years earlier). After she retired, she decided to get back on track with the Dr.s and find out about all this abnormal bleeding, discharge, losing control of her bladder, pain, etc. Things just started to progressively get worse, but not too extreme. Her body was trying to tell her for the last 3 years that something wasn't right, but didn't jolt her enough like I wish it would have.
Diagnosing Uterine Cancer and Tests
After seeing a few different doctors and getting referrals here and there, they decided they wanted to give her a D&C. A D&C ( Dilation and Curettage) is a procedure in which they remove tissue from the uterus. Before she was to have the D&C done, they wanted to check out her physical condition so they did a few blood tests. They did an EKG which gave us even more of a let down. The EKG showed something was wrong and they wanted to do an angioplasty. Well, the angioplasty ended up with a stent in her heart, so that put off the D&C
Uterine And Ovarian Cancer
My mother had to have a hysterectomy to remove the uterine cancer. After the surgery was over she had to wait for the pathology reports to see if the cancer metastasized (spread) to other organs. Unfortunately, the cancer did spread into her ovaries and lymph nodes.
The doctor told my mother if she would have started treatment when she started having symptoms of bleeding and the pain she was having a couple years ago, the cancer would not have spread. Because of the uterine and ovarian cancer, not to mention the spreading of cancer into the lymph nodes, she had to undergo 6 chemotherapy treatments.
Chemotherapy And Radiation Treatments
Since the cancer spread into the other organs and nodes, the chemotherapy did not get all the cancer. It was confirmed with a PET scan. Since she still has the cancer, he suggested she undergo radiation treatments. We will have to see yet how this goes as we won't know for a few months.
Side Affects From The Chemotherapy
I was surprised as the side affects from the chemo did not affect her in such a way that she refused to go any longer. There were a few times it made her horribly ill and she really did not want to continue, but her mind was set that she was going to do whatever she could to try to rid of the cancer. Her her did fall out and she replaced it with a beautiful wig. In fact, she likes the wig so well, she just may continue to wear it even when her hair does grow back in.
I will follow up on this and let you know just what the outcome is. Right now, it's at a stand still, not in remission, just at a stand still. We have to wait until the radiation treatments are done.
The Stages Of Uterine Cancer
There are 5 Stages of Uterine Cancer and each are divided into stages as to how far the cancer has spread. Each stage has a different outcome, but it depends on you as a person, so I will just give you the stages. Only God knows how anything is going to turn out.
What are the stages of Uterine Cancer
1A- cancer is only in the endometrium (has not spread beyond that)
1B- cancer has spread into the muscle layer of the uterus
1C- cancer has spread into the outer half of the muscle layer of uterus
2A- cancer has spread to the glands where the cervix and the uterus meet.
2B- cancer has spread into the connective tissue of the cervix
3A- is either spread on the outer layer of the uterus, or the tissue beyond uterus or the peritoneum. Just one of those or more is Stage III
3B- is where cancer spread beyond the uterus and is into the cervix and vagina
3C- is where the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes by the uterus
Stage IV (where the cancer has spread beyond the pelvis)
4A- cancer spread to the bladder or the bowel wall or both
4B-Cancer has spread to other parts of the body
Recurring Uterine Cancer
Recurrent uterine cancer is cancer that has recurred (come back) after it has been treated. The cancer may come back in the pelvis, in the lymph nodes in the abdomen, or in other parts of the body.
Radiation Treatment Being Given
What Kind of Treatments Are Available for Uterine Cancer?
There are different treatments for uterine cancer your Dr. may recommend for you depending on if your cancer has spread to other organs or depending on your age. Different factors for each person, but your doctor will decide what is appropriate for yours. Remember, God can heal, and prayers are always the best medicine no matter what.
I have been through radiation, but never chemotherapy, so I can't give you my honest experience with it. Radiation was did not hurt one bit. It was like a giant x-ray machine or getting a cat scan. The treatment would depend on how far the cancer has spread, as with any cancers. The most used treatments that I found were these:
Treatment of Uterine Cancer
Hysterectomy (either before or after any radiation or chemo) Depends on size of tumor
Hormone Replacement treatment
You can read more about radiation and personal story of what happens during radiation treatments for cancer here
Signs, Symptoms And Causes of Cervical Cancer
- Signs, Symptoms And Causes Of Cervical Cancer-HPV
Signs,symptoms and causes of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer and HPV information on treatment & prevention. Pap smears and early detection
Other Gynelogical Cancers-Cervical Cancer
As a woman, you are always going to be at risk for any pelvic, vaginal, gynelogical type of cancers. To help yourself be aware of the signs and symptoms of type of cancers, it's up to you to investigate and do your research. This is my personal journey of cervical cancer I would like to share with you so you know the symptoms and what to look for. My cancer was not found on a pap smear, so I think it's important information for you to read. Information on cervical cancer symptoms, treatments, coping with cancer and stories of cancer survivors. You may read that information in the below links.
Video of Chemotherapy Treatment Being Given
Great Information On Uterine Cancer Video
Video On Endometrial Cancer
If you had the option of radiation or chemotherapy, which would you choose?
© 2012 Lisa