The uterus is a pear-shaped organ in the abdomen of the woman in which the unborn child grows up to birth. The uterus consists of two sections: the uterine body (corpus uteri) and the cervix (cervix uteri). In the uterus, two different types of cancer can develop: cervical cancer develops from the cells of the cervix. Cervical cancer most often starts from the mucosal lining of the uterine body (endometrium). In rarer cases, it starts from the muscular wall of the uterine body (uterine sarcoma).
Uterus and adjacent organs
1. Fallopian tube 2. Ovary 3. Uterus 4. Scab 5. Cervical cavity 6. Uterus body (muscular layer) 7. Uterine mucosa (endometrium) 8. Cervix
There is no clear cause of uterine cancer. However, some factors seem to increase the risk of disease:
- Diabetes (diabetes)
- Factors that “prolong” the action ofthe hormone estrogen on the metabolism: early first menstruation,childlessness, late menopause
- strong obesity (fat cells in the body produceestrogen)
- long-term hormone therapy in menopause withestrogen, without additional gestagen
- existing breast cancer or some antihormonaltherapies in breast cancer, as this can stimulate the growth of the endometrium
- hereditary factors
- previous radiotherapy in the pelvic area
Cancer of the uterine body prepares hardly any complaints in the early stages. A first sign is unusual bleeding or foul-smelling discharge from the vagina. Any vaginal bleeding that occurs after menopause should be clarified by the doctor. In menopausal women, bleeding between menstruations or unusually heavy menstrual bleeding may indicate cancer.
For a first diagnosis, an ultrasound of the uterus and abdominal organs is performed through the vagina. Often there is also a reflection of the uterus. During these examinations, tissue samples are also taken from the uterine lining.
When suspected uterine cancer is almost always operated on. If a preliminary diagnosis is confirmed during the operation, the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries should be completely removed. For the affected women, this means they can not have children after the procedure.
Depending on the spread of cancer, radiotherapy follows after surgery. If there is a high risk of relapse or if the cancer has already metastasized, chemotherapy or antihormonal therapy may be considered.