Continued from previous page.

“Infertility or failure to ovulate puts a woman at greater risk of developing endometrial cancer while getting pregnant and having children has a protective effect,” advices Consultants from the KK Gynaecological Cancer Centre at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Most cases of endometrial cancer (also known as uterine cancer) present early with some form of abnormal vaginal bleeding, particularly post-menopausal bleeding. Treatment of endometrial cancer will depend on the stage of the disease and the general health of the patient.

How to prevent endometrial cancer (uterine cancer)

Here are the various ways a woman can reduce her risk of endometrial cancer (also known as uterine cancer):

  1. Maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle
    - Have a nutritious diet (eating foods that are low in fat and cholesterol and high in fibre, such as fruits, vegetables and wholegrain breads and cereals) 
    - Exercise regularly 

  2. Go for a yearly pelvic examination

  3. Consult a doctor early, if you notice any abnormal vaginal bleeding. Most bleeding is not caused by uterine cancer, but your doctor can investigate the cause of the abnormal bleed.

  4. Do not take chances if you think you have a problem. See your doctor at once. When uterine cancer is found early, the outlook is excellent. Delay in seeking treatment makes this disease much harder to cure.

​Stages of endometrial cancer (uterine cancer)

If endometrial cancer (uterine cancer)is not detected early, it can spread (metastasize) from the uterus to neighbouring areas such as the cervix, and further away to the bowels. The different stages of the endometrial cancer are determined by how far the disease, also called uterine cancer or womb cancer, has spread.

Stage 1: Cancer is limited to the uterus

Stage 2: Cancer has spread from the uterus to the cervix

Stage 3: Cancer has spread to the wider pelvic region, including the pelvic lymph nodes

Stage 4: Cancer has spread outside the pelvic region, to the bladder, bowels, rectum Content

Treatments for endometrial cancer (uterine cancer)

The various treatment options for endometrial cancer include:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation

  • Chemotherapy

  • Hormone therapy

Doctors usually recommend surgery as the best treatment for endometrial cancer. Surgery typically involves the removal of the uterus (hysterectomy), as well as the removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries (salpingo-oophorectomy).

“If you are still having your periods, you'll experience menopause once your ovaries are removed," says Consultants from the KK Gynaecological Cancer Centre.

The surgeon will also remove the pelvic lymph nodes, to assess the spread of the cancer. If the cancer is at an advanced stage, the patient may be required to undergo further treatment after surgery. This could be in the form of radiotherapy, hormonal treatment or chemotherapy.

If the patient is not fit enough to undergo surgery, she may be treated with radiation alone.

5 Things to remember about endometrial cancer (uterine cancer)

  1. Endometrial cancer (uterine cancer) is not painful in the early stages of the disease. Don’t wait for painful symptoms to occur, get any suspicious symptoms checked

  2. Post-menopausal bleeding is not normal, and may be a symptom of endometrial cancer

  3. Irregular heavy periods can also be a symptom of endometrial cancer (uterine cncer), and any woman suffering from it should seek medical attention

  4. Endometrial cancer (uterine cancer) is curable if it is detected at an early stage. The 5-year survival rate for endometrial cancer is about 80 per cent

  5. If endometrial cancer (uterine cancer) is discovered early and is confined to the uterus, removing the womb often eliminates all of the cancer

See the previous page to learn about risk factors and symptoms of endometrial cancer.

IRef: H24 (ed)

More women cancer articles you may be interested in:

Top 10 Cancers Affecting Men and Women in Singapore

Breast Cancer: How to Prevent and Detect Issues Early

8 Top Cancer-Fighting Foods to Eat

Ovarian Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Cervical Cancer: Symptoms, Screening and How to Prevent