Medgate Today

RISK OF UTERINE CANCER AMONG MENOPAUSAL

- Dr. Ajay Mehta Director & Consultant Surgical Oncology

AWomen’s body undergoes numerous changes during her lifetime. Menopause is one such phase which is a natural biological process marking the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The process starts in the mid-40s and 50s in most women characteri­sed by symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, changing levels of oestrogen and progestero­ne and no menstrual period for about 12 months. It brings with it more than just hormonal and physical changes. In some cases, it may also raise concerns about cancer risks. It is important to realize that certain menopausal symptoms might mirror those of gynaecolog­ical cancers including uterine cancers, which are tumours that begin in the female reproducti­ve organs.

Uterine cancer is the most common type of cancer that occurs in the reproducti­ve system of a woman’s body when the healthy cells in the uterus begin to change and grow uncontroll­ed, forming into a mass or tumour. Uterine cancer is different from cervical cancer (cancer confined to uterine cervix) and is broadly of two types - Endometria­l Cancer occurring in the endometriu­m or the uterine lining and Uterine sarcoma in the myometrium or the muscle wall of the uterus.

Symptoms of uterine cancers are as follows:

● Vaginal bleeding in between menstrual cycles before menopause

● Vaginal bleeding or spotting postmenopa­use

● Lower abdominal pain or cramping in pelvis

● Thin white or clear vaginal discharge post-menopause

● Extremely heavy and frequent vaginal bleeding if you’re older than 40

Causes

Uterine cancer may develop due to a number of reasons. The risk factors include:

● Age: As you become older, your chances of getting uterine cancer rise. The majority of uterine malignanci­es develop after the age of 50.

● Obesity: Some hormones are converted to oestrogen by fat tissue, increasing the risk of uterine cancer. The Higher the amount of fat tissue, the greater the effect on oestrogen levels.

● Ovarian diseases: Certain ovarian cancers cause high oestrogen levels and low progestero­ne levels. These hormonal changes can increase the risk of uterine cancer.

● Early menstruati­on: If you started having your period before the age of 12, your chances of developing uterine cancer are higher. This is because your uterus is exposed to oestrogen for a longer period of time.

● Late menopause: Similarly, if menopause occurs after the age of 50, your body is exposed to oestrogen for a longer period of time which increases the risk of cancer.

Postmenopa­usal women are more likely to develop uterine and ovarian cancers. Abnormal uterine bleeding is the most prevalent sign of uterine cancer, which occurs in 75 percent to 90 percent of women with this type of cancer. It might be difficult to tell the difference between irregular bleeding and a typical menstrual period, especially during the menopausal transition.

Some safe and healthy ways to manage menopause symptoms include:

● Exercising regularly

● Reducing stress

● Getting enough sleep

● Avoiding hot flash triggers like coffee, tea alcohol

● Quitting smoking

The chances of cancer risk before and after menopause can be considerab­ly reduced by leading a healthy lifestyle, with small yet significan­t changes. Neverthele­ss, it is always advisable to consult a healthcare expert in case any of the symptoms or changes are health are noticed in overall health.

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