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Definition: Cancer of the endometrium

The endometrium: Definition

The endometrium is the lining inside the uterus. Women of childbearing age, endometrial experienced a series of monthly changes associated with hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle.

Each month, the endometrium grows and thickens in anticipation of receiving a fertilized egg. Menstruation occurs when fertilization has not occurred. The unfertilized egg and dead cells of the endometrium are then discharged with the menstrual blood.

Endometrial cancer or endometrial cancer?

Cancers of the uterus almost always start at the endometrium. This is why we speak most often "endometrial cancer". There are several types, but carcinoma is by far the most common.

As they are localized (no extension of the tumor to other organs), these cancers have a good prognosis. According to the study made official Eurocare 4 in 2009, life expectancy at 5 years for patients who had an endometrial cancer is 73%.

Endometrial cancer in figures
In 2006, according to the European Cancer Observatory (CEO), 6,542 new cases of endometrial cancer were identified. The same year, there were 1,463 deaths from this disease.

Endometrial cancer: causes

Endometrial cancer usually occurs after menopause in women aged 55 to 70 years. Risk factors are numerous: age, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, the fact of not having had children, late menopause ... The endometrial cancer can sometimes be linked to hereditary factors. It is then associated in families at high risk of colon cancer and more rarely the ovary.

Some treatments may put them at risk of cervical cancer. This is particularly the case of hormonal treatments or treatments behaved badly affecting the functioning of the female hormones estrogen. This is why careful monitoring is required when gynecological received treatment with anti-estrogen in the management of breast cancer.

Signs of endometrial cancer

The endometrial cancer rarely occurs before menopause, as the woman has regular menstrual cycles.
It sometimes detects in the period when the cycle becomes irregular menstruation which disappear. The most common symptom is when the presence of vaginal bleeding. Recurrence of vaginal bleeding after menopause should be reported immediately to a doctor. These losses can be watery, more or less stained with blood.
This symptom of endometrial cancer is well known gynecologists. It leads them to take samples directly into the uterus.

Screening for endometrial cancer

There is no specific examination for the detection of endometrial cancer. The Pap smear, which is the primary screening of cervical cancer of the uterus (see below), is not effective for the detection of endometrial cancer.

Treatment of endometrial cancer

Surgery and radiotherapy are the most effective approaches to treat cancers of the endometrium. They can be used separately or be combined with each other. The choice of treatment depends on the clinical findings and analysis of those cells collected at diagnosis.

- Surgical treatment of cancer of the corpus uteri involves removal of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. The operation is called a hysterectomy. Ganglia region are usually also removed. The operation can sometimes be performed without incision, by natural means (for "low road"). It is the surgeon decides whether this technique is suitable for the patient or if it is necessary to use a more conventional method.
- Radiation therapy can be performed in two ways, with or without them: brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy) or external beam radiotherapy.
- If the cancer has spread to other organs or if recurrence, the doctor may use a hormone (progesterone, anti-hormones) or chemotherapy.

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