Endometrial cancer is one of the various forms of cancer that can only affect women. In this cancer, cancerous cells originate in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. Endometrial cancer develops and progresses as these cancer cells replicate and spread throughout the affected region.
In some cases, this form of cancer may spread to other areas of a female's body, including the vagina or liver. When cancer begins spreading, it becomes known as metastatic cancer and requires immediate medical attention.
Why is the Endometrium Important?
As briefly explained above, the endometrium is the inner lining of a female's uterus. The uterus is an organ used for containing a developing baby when a female becomes pregnant. The importance of the endometrium is best understood through a female's menstrual cycle.
During the menstrual cycle, the endometrial lining of the uterus thickens in preparation for pregnancy every four weeks. If the female is not pregnant, this lining is shed as her period and may cause cramps as muscle contractions force the endometrial lining to fall.
What are the Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer?
There are many types of endometrial cancer, with the most common being adenocarcinoma. Cancers are distinguished based on the targeted cells and the appearance of cancer cells. Adenocarcinoma tumors are typically composed of cells that resemble the normal endometrium.
Endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed when a woman goes for her annual gynecologist visit. Her doctor may diagnose this form of cancer based on visual symptoms, such as spotting or bleeding from the vagina, lumps in the lower abdomen, or unexplained weight loss. If any of these symptoms are viewed, your doctor may recommend a pelvic exam.
Once you have been undergone several tests that confirm the doctor's suspicion of cancer, the next step is treatment. Depending on the severity of your diagnosed cancer, your doctor may recommend various forms of treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemo, immunotherapy, medications, hormone therapy, or clinical trials.
What Happens After Endometrial Cancer Treatment?
Of course, you may feel a sense of relief following the successful completion of your cancer treatment. While you are done with the main part, what comes afterward is also very important. Following your treatment, you are responsible for scheduling follow-up visits with your cancer doctor.
The frequency of your visits solely depends on the stage of your cancer prior to treatment. Females who had lower-stage endometrial cancer might have to follow-up less frequently with their doctors than females with high-stage cancer. Each follow-up visit will typically consist of a pelvic and physical exam to look for reemerging symptoms of endometrial cancer.
Unfortunately, cancer can come back even after successful treatment. For this reason, it is very important to report any and all unusual symptoms to your doctor. Over time, you may find that your visit will become less frequent.
Living with cancer and undergoing treatment can be difficult, but there are plenty of resources out there to help you through these tough times. While you may feel overcome with negativity, you can use this time to gain a new perception of life, and even find joy in the little things. While it is impossible to alter your past or future, you can always take control of your life and live it how it was meant to be lived.