​Endometrial Cancer


Endometrial cancer is a cancer that starts in the uterus. It usually starts in the layer of cells that make up the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. Endometrial cancer is often found and detected in its early stages, because it often results in abnormal vaginal bleeding.

If detected early, a surgical procedure to remove the uterus often cures endometrial cancer.

The most common and widely reported symptom of endometrial cancer amongst women is unusual vaginal bleeding. This may occur in the form of a change in your menstruation cycle (bleeding between periods, heavy bleeding or irregular periods), bleeding after menopause or spotting. You may also experience an irregular discharge, usually pink and watery or blood streaked and having a foul smell.  You may also report pain in the lower abdomen accompanied by pelvic cramps. Upon examination, you might be able to feel a mass, either swelling or lump, in the pelvic region. You might also feel discomfort during urination or having intercourse. Unexplained weight loss is usually symptomatic of later stages of the cancer.

You should be watchful of your menstruation cycle. Visit a medical practitioner working with the Women's Health Care Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately if you notice vaginal bleeding or unusual vaginal discharge that is not linked to your periods.

You should be wary of the slightest change, even if it is abnormal spotting. Consult a doctor working with the Oncology Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital if you feel pelvic cramps and experience pain during urination or intercourse.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so makes sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

In the attempts to detect the possibility of endometrial cancer, you will be asked to discuss your symptoms with the doctor. You will also be inquired about your medical history and the prevalence of endometrial cancer in your family. You will then undergo a physical examination including a pelvic exam to assess for any unusual swelling in the pelvic region. For further investigations, you may be asked to undertake either a pelvic ultrasound and/or a transvaginal ultrasound. If any irregularities are noticed in the ultrasound, the doctor will obtain a sample of your endometrial tissue through endometrial biopsy, hysteroscopy or dilation and curettage (D&C). If the diagnosis reports the presence of cancerous cells, the cancer is then graded on a scale of 1 to 3, a lower grade signifying a less advanced disease. In the case of cancer spread, the doctor will ask you to undergo additional tests to assess the spread to the body tissues.

If you are diagnosed with endometrial cancer, you will be offered a number of treatments to choose from.

  • Surgery is the most common choice amongst patients, in case the cancer has not spread outside the uterus

  • In case the cancer cells have spread, you can opt for radiation therapy. This treatment employs the use of high energy rays or particles that kill the cancer cells.

  • You will also be given the option to choose from hormone therapy for endometrial cancer. The therapy employs either the introduction of artificial hormones into the body which slowdown the growth of the cancerous endometrial cells. Hormone therapy may also use hormone-blocking drugs that disallow female hormones (oestrogen) from circulating in the body and thereby preventing the growth of the cancer cells.

  • If hormone therapy is ineffective, you can choose chemotherapy as a treatment for the cancer. This treatment employs the introduction of anti-cancer drugs either intravenously or orally. Chemotherapy is effective especially if the body has undergone metastasis.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
 
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
 
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.