Uterine cancer affects about 60000 new people each year – a minor disease with major implications. It’s primarily found in women who are older and at risk for obesity. Lynch syndrome, which ties into colon cancer, is strongly tied to risks of uterine cancer as well. The disease tends to pop up in women post-menopause and remains a killer of 10000 yearly. Commonly known as endometrial cancer, it comes in two forms: uterine sarcomas, which start in the muscle layer/supporting tissues, and endometrial carcinomas, which start in the inner lining. Testing for the disease is a bit difficult, requiring specific exams that fall outside of the pelvic exam/Pap smear – part of the reason that testing is so underutilized. It’s not exactly easy to recognize either – most of the symptoms in the early stages are very similar to host of other issues based around uterine health. Treatment is mostly based around surgery – the removal of the uterus (hysterectomy), the ovaries (the delightfully named salpingo-oophorectomy), and the lymph nodes are all on the table. Chemo- and radio- therapy are both options as well, but these are only possible after the removal of the uterus and the cervix as a way to clear out residual cancer cells not located directly in the uterus. The community around the disease is ebullient, holding marches and events to keep spirits of those affected high. Join them! Get involved with uterine cancer awareness products such as a tan wristband.
Written by Michele Wheat