What are the Symptoms of Uterine Cancer?

The first symptom of uterine cancer is usually abnormal vaginal bleeding:

  • After the menopause, bleeding at any time
  • Before the menopause, bleeding between periods or after sex

 

Other symptoms include:

  • Non-infected vaginal discharge
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them. Put your mind at rest and make time to consult your doctor or healthcare specialist.

What happens next?

You may be asked to undergo some tests to find out the definitive cause of these symptoms, which may be related to other non-cancerous conditions, for example benign uterine polyps or fibroids. A detailed diagnosis is required so the most suitable treatment is offered for each condition

These tests include:

  • An internal pelvic examination to check the womb, vagina and the ovaries
  • A swab to examine cells from the cervix
  • Ultrasound scan, often via a vaginal hysteroscopy: the doctor looks at the inside of the womb through the vagina and cervix using a hysteroscope; a narrow tube with a telescope at the end
  • Endometrial biopsy/ curettage: tissue is removed from the womb for examination under a microscope

How is Uterine Cancer Treated

The standard treatment is surgery with a hysterectomy and a careful investigation of the other pelvic organs. In some cases, it may be necessary to add radiotherapy, chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy.

Conservative hormone therapy can be considered in selected cases of young women with early uterine cancer who wish to preserve their fertility.

  • 1. ECO, European Cancer Observatory. International Agency for Research on Cancer: http://eco.iarc.fr/EUCAN (last accessed 30 June 2015)