Does Endometrial Cancer Spread Quickly?
UPDATED ON 10 FEB. 2022
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Endometrial is a type of gynecological cancer that develops in the uterine lining. Like other cancers, the treatment is based on the stage you are diagnosed with or how fast it has spread.
Patients with endometrial cancer are concerned about
- How fast does this cancer spread?
- What if we leave it untreated?
This blog solves all these common queries.
What is endometrial cancer?
A uterus is one of the crucial female reproductive parts where a fetus grows for nine months. A soft tissue lines the uterus, which is known as the endometrium. When cancer cells develop in this lining, it is referred to as endometrial cancer.
The American Institute for Cancer Research reveals that it is the world’s 15th most common cancer. It is the sixth most prevalent cancer in women and the 15th most common cancer overall. This cancer can be easily detected early through standard testing as it grows slowly.
Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer
Symptoms of endometrial cancer can include:
- Fresh bleeding, spotting, or other discharge from the vaginal area
- Pain or a lump in her lower belly
- Significant weight loss
- Not being able to get pregnant (rare)
If you experience such symptoms, consult an expert immediately.
Causes of Endometrial cancer
Even though the origin of endometrial cancer is unknown in the vast majority of instances, we can identify several causes like:
- Early menstruation or late menopause – Endometrial cancer is more likely in women who start menstruating early (before 12) or wait longer to reach menopause.
- Never been pregnant – You have a higher chance of endometrial cancer if you have never been pregnant.
- Changes in hormonal balance – The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, which are the two main female hormones. Alterations cause changes in the endometrium in the proportion of these hormones. Also, ovulation irregularities, which can occur in polycystic ovarian syndrome, obesity, and diabetes, are examples that increase the risk of this cancer.
- Getting older – Endometrial cancer is more likely to develop as you get older. Endometrial cancer is common cancer after menopause.
- Lynch syndrome is a heredity disease that passes down through the generations. It is a cancer risk factor for colon cancer and endometrial cancer.
- Hormone therapy for breast cancer – Medicines used to treat breast cancer have been related to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Mostly, the benefits of tamoxifen outweigh the minor risk of side effects.
Stages of Endometrial cancer
Your doctor will want to know what stage of endometrial cancer you have to determine the best treatment option for you. The stage refers to how far cancer has gone through the endometrium and uterus. It also determines whether cancer has migrated to nearby or distant sections of your reproductive system.
Your cancer can be in one of four stages: stages 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the level, the less cancer has spread. A higher number, such as stage 4, indicates that cancer has gone beyond the endometrium and is more dangerous.
Make sure to inquire about the cancer stage and what it means for you with your oncologist.
- Stage 0 (a precancerous condition): Abnormal cells have been found. They have not spread yet.
- Stages 1, 2, and 3 – The confirmed cancer diagnosis. The figures show the size of the primary tumor and the extent to which the malignancy has spread.
- Stage 4: Other parts of the body have been affected by cancer.
Endometrial cancer is classified into various categories based on how the cells appear. Further information on the sort of cancer you have will be available from your doctor.
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What if endometrial cancer is left untreated?
Endometrial cancer begins in the uterine lining. If left untreated,
- This cancer then spreads to the uterine wall, bladder, and rectum.
- It also expands into the lymphatic pathways that lead to the lymph nodes.
- It can also spread hematogenously, which means it can enter the bloodstream and spread to any area of the body, notably the lungs and liver.
Hence, endometrial cancer must be treated. The great majority of endometrial cancers are identified early. Hence, they are treated by removing the uterine tubes from the ovaries. Surgical intervention can help many such cases. However, some people will require extra treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy.
At last, let’s come back to our main question.
How fast does endometrial cancer spread?
Because of the mutations, healthy cells become dysfunctional. Abnormal cells grow and develop uncontrollably and do not die. The accumulating abnormal cells produce a large mass (tumor). Moreover, cancer cells can infect neighboring tissues and spread from a primary tumor to different body sections (metastasize).
Endometrial cancer is a slow, gradually growing cancer (month-years). Cancer can spread through the lymphatic system, tissues, and blood. The exact location of cancer cells in the body determines where they move next, but it’s most likely to spread locally first.
More genetic damage causes cancer cells to develop quicker than cancer cells with less genetic damage. Tumors are classified based on how abnormal they appear under a microscope.
Most endometrial cancers are incurable because they get diagnosed at an advanced stage, or a patient delays the treatment. There are, however, several things that women can take to lower the odds. For this, contraceptives lessen the risk but carefully discuss the upsides and downsides with your doctor.
Being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment can be difficult, but it can also be an opportunity to reflect on your life in new ways.
You can’t undo the fact that you’ve cancer. You can alter how you live the rest of your life – making healthy decisions.
So, book an appointment now with our expert oncologist if you think you are at risk of this cancer.
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