Every year hundreds of thousands of women undergo a procedure called a hysterectomy. While many of these surgeries are not medically necessary, which basically just means the patients life isnt in danger without it, some are done to reduce the risk of uterine cancer.
Uterine cancer kills thousands of women in the US every single year. And the best way to make sure that you dont become a victim is to know the signs and symptoms. By preventing the cancer from taking a foothold, you can save your own life.
Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Cancer
There are a lot of different symptoms that will show up when cancer is starting to get a hold on your uterus. Here are the most common.
– Pain: Any time that the body experiences pain it is because there is something wrong. The first sign that you may be developing uterine cancer is that there will be abnormal pain. This includes pain during intercourse, during urination, and just abdominal pain that doesnt go away within a day or two.
– Discharge: There are times of the month that you will experience discharge. Its completely normal. But if you are far away from you cycle, and suddenly you find bleeding or discharge, it is a sure sign that you need to be checked out. It could just be external trauma, or it could be something more serious.
– Bloating: Every single month you will experience some bloating, its natural. But the body goes through cycles, and if you dont return to normal within a week or two, there may be some underlying issues.
Basically put: if something seems wrong, it probably is. Take the time to visit your doctor to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong.
Diagnosing Uterine Cancer
Because of the location and the development of uterine cancer, the diagnosis is often a long process. It all starts with a physical pelvic exam.
Your doctor will know exactly what to look for and what to feel for. If he determines that something is wrong, he will order an ultrasound.
Ultrasounds arent just for pregnancy. They can look inside the human body and determine abnormal lumps. If something is found, then a biopsy is conducted.
If the pain is because you were hit in the stomach by your two year old, there is no reason to go inside. But if the pelvic exam turns up abnormal, and the ultrasound shows lumps and tumors, then a biopsy needs to be done. This is where actual pieces of tissue are extracted and tested for cancer.
Treatment of Uterine Cancer
Like all cancers, uterine cancer is treatable. There are several methods.
A person can undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These are just like treating other forms of cancer, and they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. But because the uterus is not an essential organ for the patients life, it can be removed.
A hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, is a common procedure. Normally the female has a slit in the abdomen, the uterus is taken out, and the abdomen sewn shut. However, many women opt for a minimally invasive procedure. This procedure, which uses a power morcellator, can actually cause more problems than it solves. It is so controversial that Johnson & Johnson stopped selling their devices until a safer alternative is found.
Undergoing a major surgery is not something to take lightly. But if you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, your only option may be to remove the uterus. Rather than risk the spread of cancer with a morcellator, go with the traditional procedure. It takes longer to recover, but your chances of dying from cancer are drastically reduced.