September is Uterine Cancer Awareness Month. To make clear this essential problem, we invited Dr. Lisa C. Richardson, Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, to reply your questions on uterine most cancers and its indicators, signs and threat components.
First and foremost, what’s uterine most cancers? What warning indicators and signs ought to individuals look out for?
Dr. Richardson: Uterine most cancers is most cancers of the uterus. The commonest sort of uterine most cancers can be referred to as endometrial most cancers as a result of it types within the lining of your uterus, referred to as the endometrium.
A serious warning signal of uterine most cancers is any vaginal bleeding or recognizing after menopause or bleeding that isn’t regular for you when you nonetheless have durations. Other signs embrace ache or stress within the pelvis.
What needs to be the subsequent steps for individuals who have issues or imagine they’re experiencing any of those indicators and signs of uterine most cancers?
Dr. Richardson: You ought to see a health care provider instantly when you expertise vaginal bleeding or recognizing after menopause. Your physique can undergo adjustments earlier than and after menopause, however any bleeding after your interval stops shouldn’t be regular.
If you continue to have durations, you need to see a health care provider if in case you have bleeding that isn’t regular for you, akin to heavier or longer menstrual durations, bleeding between durations or bleeding after intercourse. These signs could also be brought on by one thing aside from most cancers, however it’s essential to share any issues or adjustments to your physique with a health care provider.
Can I get screened for uterine most cancers? Will a Pap or HPV check display screen for uterine most cancers?
Dr. Richardson: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a routine screening for uterine most cancers and a Pap or HPV check will solely display screen for cervical most cancers. That’s why it’s essential to proceed seeing a well being care supplier in your gynecologic care after having kids and after menopause, and sharing any issues or adjustments to your physique together with your physician.
What are the chance components for uterine most cancers?
Dr. Richardson: All individuals with a uterus are in danger for uterine most cancers and your threat will increase with age. Most uterine cancers are present in people who find themselves going by means of or who’ve gone by means of menopause, the time of life when your menstrual durations cease. Other threat components for uterine most cancers embrace weight problems, having shut relations who’ve had uterine, colon or ovarian most cancers, or having Lynch syndrome, a genetic change that may be inherited from both aspect of your loved ones.
Are there steps individuals can take to decrease their threat?
Dr. Richardson: Continue seeing a supplier for gynecologic care, even after menopause and share any issues or adjustments to your physique. Maintaining a wholesome weight and being bodily energetic can even assist decrease your threat for uterine most cancers.
Why is figuring out your full household historical past essential in understanding your threat for uterine most cancers?
Dr. Richardson: Having a household historical past of uterine, colorectal, ovarian and another forms of cancers can elevate your threat for uterine most cancers, so it’s essential to study your loved ones historical past of most cancers on either side of your loved ones and share this info together with your physician. If you don’t know your loved ones historical past, begin a dialog together with your kin about it. If you’ve got the next threat for uterine most cancers primarily based on your loved ones historical past, your physician may also help you make a plan to handle your threat.
And it’s okay when you don’t have all of the solutions. If you don’t know or can’t entry your loved ones well being historical past, discuss to your physician about methods that can assist you perceive your threat.
How is uterine most cancers handled?
Dr. Richardson: Once recognized, a gynecologic oncologist can work with you to create a therapy plan. Uterine most cancers is handled in a number of methods, relying on the form of uterine most cancers and the way far it has unfold. Treatments embrace surgical procedure, radiation, chemotherapy or focused therapies.
Finally, do you’ve got any phrases of recommendation for individuals recognized with uterine most cancers?
Dr. Richardson: If your physician says that you’ve got uterine most cancers, ask to be referred to a gynecologic oncologist — a health care provider who has been educated to deal with cancers like this. This physician will work with you to create a therapy plan. Find a gynecologic oncologist who you are feeling comfy with as a way to share your issues, find out about your choices and make therapy choices.
For extra info on uterine most cancers, go to the CDC’s Inside Knowledge web site.