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Uterine cancer, also called endometrial cancer, is a type of cancerous infection that occurs in the uterine canal. Most common in postmenopausal women, uterine cancer generally involves infection of the endometrial, muscle, or myometrical cells. Knowing common uterine cancer symptoms is very important, as the disease is often treatable if caught early. Uterine cancer symptoms are usually very obvious, even in early stages.
One of the most common uterine cancer symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding. Postmenopausal women have ceased getting menstrual periods, and therefore do not bleed on a monthly basis. Any bleeding after menopause is considered a possible sign of endometrial cancer. Experts suggest that any sign of bleeding after menopause should be met with prompt medical attention.
Not all women who are diagnosed with uterine cancer have ceased menstruating; though the disease is much more common in postmenopausal women, it may also occur in women who are premenopausal. For women who are still menstruating, uterine cancer symptoms may be somewhat more difficult to detect, though certain key symptoms can still indicate the disease in early stages.
Heavier than normal periods can be a symptom of this cancer. Women who have regularly experienced heavy periods throughout their life may not be at greater risk, but women who suddenly experience several extremely heavy periods may want to consider visiting a doctor. Unusual or increased vaginal discharge is also one of the more common uterine cancer symptoms.
Pain may be an indication of a possible case of uterine cancer. Pelvic discomfort or pain during sex is a frequently reported symptom in women who develop uterine cancer. Generally, women who develop uterine cancer have been sexually active for many years, and may notice a distinct increase in pain or discomfort during intercourse.
Uterine sarcomas, which are tumors that develop in the muscles and connective tissue of the uterus, are much rarer but have many of the same symptoms as endometrial cancer. One clear sign of a possible sarcoma is the sudden enlargement of the uterus, which normally would grow only during pregnancy. Pelvic pain and unusual pressure, bleeding after sex, and a feeling of fullness or urinary urgency may be consistent with a diagnosis of uterine sarcoma.
Diagnosis for any type of uterine cancer is usually done through ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scans, or other examinations of the uterus. Pap smears are not indicators of uterine cancer, and no reliable blood test exists to diagnose this condition. Women with uterine cancer symptoms are often urged to seek diagnosis as soon as possible, as the disease is markedly easier to treat in the early stages.
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