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Attention women! Lifestyle changes triggering rise in uterine cancer

It is a boon that women are more vocal about the changes in their menstrual pattern or other gynaecology related concerns, which aids in the early diagnosis of endometrial cancer, says Dr M Subhasini, consultant for obstetrics and gynaecology at Manipal Hospitals.

Lifestyle changes triggering rise in uterine cancer symptoms, treatment-VPN
Salem, First Published Jul 23, 2021, 1:07 PM IST

Cancer cases are expected to reach 1.59 million in India by 2025. Among women, endometrial cancer, a type of uterine cancer affecting women's reproductive health, is one of the most prevailing cancers in women. 

Recently, there has been a sudden surge in incidences of endometrial cancer among women. 

Dr M Subhasini, consultant for obstetrics and gynaecology at Manipal Hospitals in Salem, told Asianet Newsable that this spike in cases is primarily due to increased awareness among women regarding reproductive health and wellness, thereby seeking medical care. 

It is a boon that women are more vocal about the changes in their menstrual pattern or other gynaecology related concerns, which aids in the early diagnosis of endometrial cancer. 

While awareness has increased radically in the past decade, there is a need for women to adopt healthy lifestyle habits to avoid complications and reduce this rise. To add, delayed childbearing after 30's also one of the causes for the rising trend.

Dr M Subhasini said certain risk factors are identified in women who are prone to develop endometrial cancer. These risk factors include:

* Obesity (hidden pandemic) 

* Increase in diabetic and hypertension population in India 

* Delayed age of marriage and delayed childbirth

* Increasing cases of infertility and infertility treatment 

* Family history of endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is cancer of the uterus. It is found in the inner lining of the uterus called the endometrium. When the endometrium grows rapidly, there is an uneven thickening of the lining in certain places, causing a tumour. 

When undiagnosed, it could spread to other places such as the nearby lymph nodes, neighbouring structures in the abdomen in advanced cases.

Symptoms to watch out for

* The most common symptom is postmenopausal bleeding. Women with postmenopausal bleeding have a probability of 5-10% of developing the disease

* Change in a bleeding pattern such as heavy, painful, prolonged cycles or bleeding found in between periods

* Abnormal discharge through the vagina, particularly in obese hypertensive diabetic women or in women with a family history of cancer

* Women with a pre-history of LYNCH syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) are at an elevated risk of acquiring endometrial cancer with a lifetime risk factor of 40 - 60%

* The mean age of diagnosis for endometrial cancer is 60, and for women with a positive family history, the mean age is reduced to 47.

Treatment for endometrial cancer

The tumour can be surgically removed when the diagnosis is at the beginning stage. In advanced stages, the patient might need to undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy and need long term follow-ups. 

Overall the survival rate for endometrial cancer diagnosed is 95% in stage 1, 77% in stage 2, 39% in stage 3 and 14% in stage 4. So, for a good survival rate, early diagnosis is mandatory. 

Tips to lower the risk of endometrial cancer

* Maintain a normal BMI

* Adopt healthy eating habits

* Early screening of women with family history and for those on breast cancer hormones

* Ensure early consultation with the gynaecologist for abnormal bleeding patterns

* Obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes are proven to be one of the major risk factors for endometrial cancer. It is essential that women adopt a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet to prevent the risk of endometrial cancer.

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