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Uterine Cancer: Types and Stages
If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine cancer, your doctor will likely tell you what stage you are in. Before determining your stage, your doctor will do tests such as a biopsy and an ultrasound to determine the type of uterine cancer you have. The uterus, often known as the womb, is a pear-shaped organ in which the fetus develops.
When uterine cancer is detected and treated early on, it is not lethal. In general, individuals with stage 1 uterine cancer had a 90% 5-year survival rate. The 5-year uterine cancer survival rate, on the other hand, varies depending on how far the disease has gone.
Types of Uterus Cancer
Uterine cancer is divided into two types:
- Endometrial cancer, the most frequent kind, starts in the uterus’ inner lining.
- Uterine sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that begins in the uterus’ muscles or surrounding tissue.
Identifying the Uterine Cancer Stage
Knowing the stage helps doctors in uterine cancer prognosis. To determine the stage of uterine cancer, doctors employ two methods. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics developed one approach (FIGO). The TNM staging method of the American Joint Committee on Cancer is the other. The two procedures are nearly identical. Tumor, lymph nodes, and metastasis are the three categories used in both systems (the spread of cancer).
Doctors add numbers following the letters T (Tumor), M (Metastasis), and N(Lymph nodes) in TMN staging to indicate how advanced your cancer is. When your doctor figures out the TMN staging, they’ll also figure out a larger set of numeral-based phases. Endometrial cancer is divided into four stages: I, II, III, IV or 1,2,3, and 4. Lower figures indicate that cancer hasn’t spread as far. If you’re at stage 4, the cancer cells have spread to other places of your body. In stage 0 of uterine cancer, cancer cells are only located in the endometrium’s top layer of cells, and they do not grow into the layers below.
Uterine Cancer Stages
Stage 1 Uterine Cancer
Cancer hasn’t gone beyond your uterus at this stage. It can also affect the glands in your cervix, a thin channel at the bottom of your uterus, but not the tissues.
- Stage 1A: Cancer has spread to the endometrium, the inner lining of your uterus. It’s possible that it only went halfway into the underlying muscle.
- Stage 1B: The malignancy has spread across the endometrium and more than half of the underlying muscle.
Unusual bleeding, such as spotting and bleeding in between menstrual cycles, is the most prevalent symptom. Your vaginal discharge may also be watery or blood-tinged.
The typical treatment is a complete hysterectomy, which involves removing the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The surgeon may also perform a pelvic cleaning. Your abdomen is flushed with a saltwater solution at this point. After that, it’s examined for cancer cells.
Surgery may be sufficient for some females. However, if you have larger masses or cancer that continues to spread, you may require further therapy. Cancer cells may have spread outside the uterus. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or vaginal brachytherapy, which distributes radioactive material to cancer cells, may be required to prevent your cancer from returning.
You may be allowed to take progestin treatment if you have stage 1A endometrial cancer and yet wish to have children. These hormones may aid in the shrinking or disappearance of the malignancy for some time, allowing you to become pregnant. If you aren’t careful, this choice can be hazardous. There’s a chance the hormones won’t function, causing cancer to spread.
Stage 2 Uterine Cancer
Cancer has moved from the uterus to the tissue of the cervix at this stage, but it has not progressed outside of the uterus.
Unusual bleeding, spotting, or discharge are the most prevalent symptoms, just as they are in stage I.
In most circumstances, you’ll have radical hysterectomy surgery to remove your uterus, surrounding tissues, and the upper portion of your vagina. The surgeon may potentially remove your fallopian tubes and ovaries. Radiation treatment or vaginal brachytherapy may also be required.
Stage 3 Uterine Cancer
Cancer has spread to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, or lymph nodes. However, it hasn’t harmed your bladder or the rectum’s inner lining.
- Stage IIIA: Cancer has spread to the uterus’ outer layer, as well as the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
- Stage IIIB: Cancer has progressed to the tissues surrounding the uterus or the vaginal opening.
- Stage IIIC1: Cancer has gone beyond the uterus to the lymph nodes in the pelvis.
- Stage IIIC2: Cancer cells have invaded the uterus’s body and the lymph nodes around the aorta.
You may experience pelvic or tummy pain in addition to irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge. Bloating, discomfort during sex, feeling full fast after eating, and bowel or bladder habits changes are further indications. You may also experience weight loss or feel a tumor in your stomach.
If your doctor believes surgery can eradicate the malignancy, a surgeon may perform a complete or radical hysterectomy, removing your fallopian tubes and ovaries. After a pelvic wash, chemotherapy or radiation is administered.
Stage 4 Uterine Cancer
Cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum, or other organs not connected to the uterus, such as the lungs.
Stage IVA: Cancer has migrated to the bladder or rectum and perhaps surrounding lymph nodes.
Stage IVB: It can be located in the upper abdomen, the fat that supports your lower abdomen (called the omentum), or organs such as your lungs, liver, and bones, or the groin lymph nodes.
The symptoms of stage 4 uterine cancer are identical to stage 3. Symptoms such as bone pain or shortness of breath may also occur in regions where the disease has progressed.
Radiation, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy are all possible treatments.
Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, contact All American Hospice. Our skilled caregivers can provide you with the medical care you require to feel more at ease.