The uterus, or womb, is part of a woman’s reproductive system. It’s about the size and shape of a hollow, upside-down pear. The uterus sits low in the abdomen between the bladder and rectum and is held there by muscle. It’s joined to the vagina (birth canal) by the cervix, which is the neck of the uterus. The uterus is where a foetus grows.
The uterus is made up of two layers:
- Myometrium: the outer layer of muscle tissue. This makes up most of the uterus.
- Endometrium: the inner layer or the lining of the uterus.
In a woman of childbearing age, the endometrium changes in thickness each month to prepare for pregnancy. If the egg isn’t fertilised, the lining is shed and flows out of the body through the vagina. This flow is known as a woman’s period (menstruation).
When a woman releases an egg from her ovary (ovulates), the egg travels down her Fallopian tube into the uterus. If the egg is fertilised by a sperm, it will implant itself into the lining of the uterus and grow into a baby.
Menopause occurs when a woman no longer releases the hormones that cause ovulation and menstruation. A menopausal woman’s periods stop, and she’s not able to become pregnant. The uterus becomes smaller and the endometrium becomes thinner and inactive.
The most common cancer of a reproductive system of a woman is known as uterine cancer. This cancer starts in cell layers that form the lining of the uterus. This cancer can be detected in its early stage as it causes abnormal vaginal bleeding. The surgical removal of the uterus can cure uterine cancer.
Types of Uterine Cancer :-
Sarcoma: Sarcoma cancer grows in the supporting tissues of the uterine glands or in the myometrium. This cancer accounts for 2-4% of uterine cancers.
Adenocarcinoma: This cancer is considered as the main type of uterine cancer that grows from the cells in the uterus lining. Endometrial cancer is the other name of this cancer.
The Symptoms of Uterine Cancer include :
- Unusual Vaginal Bleeding or Discharge
- Trouble Urinating
- Pelvic Pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen
Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer
- Pelvic Exam : Doctor checks your uterus, vagina, and nearby tissues for any lumps or changes in shape or size.
- Physical Exam : A Thorough Medical History and Physical Examination is done
- Ultrasound : An Ultrasound device uses sound waves that can’t be heard by humans. The sound waves make a pattern of echoes as they bounce off organs inside the pelvis. The echoes create a picture of your uterus and nearby tissues. The picture can show a uterine tumor. For a better view of the uterus, the device may be inserted into the vagina (transvaginal ultrasound).
- Biopsy : The removal of tissue to look for cancer cells is a biopsy. A thin tube is inserted through the vagina into your uterus. Your doctor uses gentle scraping and suction to remove samples of tissue. A pathologist examines the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells. In most cases, a biopsy is the only sure way to tell whether cancer is present.
World Most Advanced Uterine Cancer Treatment in India
- Surgery :During exploratory surgery, oncopathologist, who specialize in tissue study examine the cancer tissue so that gynaeoncologist can determine how much tissue to remove. In most cases, gynaeoncologist will recommend a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or a complete hysterectomy (removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries). To find out whether the cancer has spread, gynaeoncologist also removes tissue from the lymph nodes near the uterus and other abdominal sites.
- Chemotherapy : Certain types of chemicals are used for killing the cancer cells. One or more chemotherapy drugs may also be combined. The injection of these drugs can be done either through the mouth or into the veins. Women who are suffering from recurrent or advanced stage of uterine cancer that has spread beyond the uterus are treated with the help of chemotherapy. The drugs then enter into the bloodstream that moves in the entire body for destroying the cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy : High-energy radiation beams are used in this therapy for killing the cancer cells. Radiation therapy is also recommended for reducing the risk of recurrence after surgery. Also this therapy is also beneficial after surgery for shrinking the tumor so that can be easily removed. This therapy may involve –
- Radiation given within the body : This involves the placement of a radiation-filled device like a cylinder, small seeds or wires within the vagina for a short duration. This process is known as internal radiation or Brachytherapy.
- Radiation given through a machine outside the body : This process makes use of machine that is placed outside the body. The radiation is then directed at a specific point in the body and this process is known as external beam radiation.
- Hormone therapy Gynaeoncologist may recommend progestin (synthetic progesterone) to help stop the cancer from spreading. Patient may take progestin with other medications.