Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the endometrium of the womb. The endometrium is the inner lining of the womb. Endometrial cancer occurs as a result of the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to multiply rapidly, and can also spread to other organs of the body. One of the early symptoms of endometrial carcinoma is vaginal bleeding, that is not connected to the menstrual period. Some of the other symptoms presented by patients include hematuria, pain associated with sexual intercourse, pain in the pelvis. This disease tends to occur after the patient has passed the age of menopause. This disease has also been linked to obesity. Other factors linked with endometrial cancer include a high level of estrogen, high blood pressure, diabetes, and so on. Studies have shown that taking estrogen alone raises the risk of developing the disease. On the other hand, combining both estrogen and progesterone reduces the risk of developing the disease. A low percentage of about 2-5 per cent occurs as a result of heredity. Physicians diagnose this disease through methods, such as endometrial biopsy, dilation and curettage. Pap smear can also be done, although this isn’t adequate enough to make a diagnosis. The prognosis of this disease is high if the disease is diagnosed early. This disease has many treatment options. Some of these include an abdominal hysterectomy. Other methods such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy can also be done. Scientists are working on identifying endometrial stem cells. These stem cells are responsible for the uncontrolled growth of endometrial carcinoma cells. This would significantly facilitate the treatment, and hopefully a stem cell cure for endometrial carcinoma in the nearest future.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Endometrial Carcinoma?
This disease mostly affects women, that have passed menopause. Statistics have shown that this occurs in about 90% of cases. Bleeding is the most prevalent symptom in persons affected with this disease. Other signs and symptoms include abnormal menstrual cycles, thin white or clear vaginal discharge and so on. The uterus may become bigger, and cancer may also spread to other parts of the body. However, when this happens, patients present with lower abdominal pain, and pelvic cramping. They might also experience pain during sexual intercourse, and difficulty in urination. In severe cases, the uterus of affected women would be filled with pus.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Endometrial Carcinoma?
Risk factors are conditions that facilitate the development of endometrial carcinoma. Below are some of the risk factors;
- Hormonal changes: The ovaries normally secrete the female sex hormones. These include estrogen and progesterone. However, changes in the level of the hormones would lead to changes in the inner lining of the uterus. Any condition that increases the level of estrogen in the body and not progesterone can lead to the development of endometrial carcinoma. Examples of such include conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, overweight or obesity, diabetes and so on. Also, women that have attained menopause, taking medications that contains only estrogen alone have a high chance of developing endometrial carcinoma. In addition, any a tumour in the body that increases the amount of estrogen in the body would also increase the risk of developing this disease.
- Obesity: Been overweight or obese increases the risk of developing endometrial carcinoma. This might occur because the extra fat in the body can alter the hormone levels.
- Early menstruation: People who started menstruating at an early age, especially before the age of 12 have more risk of being affected by endometrial carcinoma. The more period one has, the more the exposure the woman has to estrogen, and the higher the risk of developing the disease.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women have fewer chances of developing endometrial carcinoma. On the other hand, people who have never gotten pregnant before have a higher risk of being affected by the disease.
- Age: Endometrial carcinoma tends to women who have undergone menopause.
- Hormonal therapies: Endometrial carcinoma also tends to occur in people who have undergone hormone therapies for the treatment of breast cancer. People taking drugs such as tamoxifen should discuss the risk of developing the disease with their physician.
- History of colon cancer syndrome: Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer is a disease that affects the large intestine. This disease increases the risk of developing endometrial carcinoma. Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer is caused by a gene mutation. These mutated genes can be passed down from parents to their children. People that have been diagnosed with this disease, or that have a family member that has suffered from the disease should regularly check themselves for the presence of endometrial carcinoma.
What Are The Causes Of Endometrial Carcinoma?
The main cause of endometrial carcinoma isn’t known yet, however, genetics has a huge role to play in the development of this disease. Genetic mutation changes healthy cells into abnormal cells. These abnormal cells multiply rapidly, to form cancer cells, which might then spread to other parts of the body. These cells grow rapidly and have some certain level of immortality because they do not die at the set time. These cells join together to form a tumour.
How Can Endometrial Carcinoma Be Prevented?
There are many ways of reducing the risks of developing endometrial carcinoma. Below are some of them;
- Birth control pills: Consuming contraceptive pills for at least one year, reduce the risk of developing endometrial carcinoma. This risk reduction can last for many years, even after stopping taking the drug.
- Healthy weight: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing the disease. People who are overweight or obese have a higher chance of developing the disease.
- Hormone therapy: It’s important to talk to your physician if you’d need to undergo hormone therapy.
Stem Cell Therapy And Endometrial Carcinoma
Scientists are working on identifying endometrial stem cells. These stem cells are responsible for the uncontrolled growth of endometrial carcinoma cells. This would significantly facilitate the treatment, and hopefully a stem cell cure for endometrial carcinoma in the nearest future.
Becker, C. (2015). Diagnosis and management of endometrial carcinoma. Prescriber, 26(20), pp.17-21.
FUKUDA, H. and MUKAI, H. (2010). Cutaneous endometriosis in the umbilical region: The usefulness of CD10 in identifying the interstitium of ectopic endometriosis. The Journal of Dermatology, 37(6), pp.545-549.
Hendarto, H. (2016). Thinking Out Loud On Endometriosis And Stem Cell Relationship. Journal of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, 2(1), pp.27-28.
Jacobson, T. (2011). Potential cures for endometrial carcinoma. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1221(1), pp.70-74.Get More Stem Cell Information at iSTEMCELL