Medical Terms - Uterine Cancer

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Uterine Cancer

Cancer of the uterus generally occurs in post menopausal women between the ages of 55 and 70.

The cancer can affect the cervix or the body of the uterus.

Factors which predispose to cancer of the cervix are the age at which intercourse started and multiple partners as this cancer is related to infection with the papilloma or wart virus. Cancer of the body of the uterus is partly hormone dependent but there is no evidence that the oral contraceptive pill causes cancer.

Regular cervical or Pap Smears each year or so will reassure you that there is no cancer or pre-cancerous change in the cervix.

Vaginal bleeding is an early sign of cancer of the uterus particularly in post-menopausal women and if this occurs, your doctor should be consulted immediately. Other signs might be a watery discharge with a nasty odour. Pain is generally not present but there might be a mild cramp like feeling in the lower abdomen.

Cancer of the uterus can spread to the vaginal canal, the pelvic and abdominal glands, the ovaries, lungs, brain and bones. In most cases symptoms appear early before spread has occurred. However, there is a form of cancer of the uterus which can spread early and so the earlier the diagnosis is made, the better.

Regular routine cervical or Pap Smears performed each 24 months in post-menopausal women and prompt examination of the contents of the uterus should there be a suspicious discharge, will uncover most cases of early cancer of the uterus.

Total surgical removal of the womb, the tubes and ovaries is the main method of treating uterine cancer.

Radiation therapy may be necessary before and after the operation. Radiation treatment using internal radium and external radiation may be considered the method of treatment in patients who are considered to be poor surgical risks.

Widespread cancer of the uterus may be treated with large dose progestagen therapy.

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