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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Guide to Uterine Cancer



What Is It?

It’s a cancerous tumor in your uterus, the pear-shaped organ also known as your womb. Most women get it in the lining of the uterus (endometrium), but you can get tumors in the muscles there, too. Almost 50,000 women in the U.S. get this type of cancer each year. If you’re past menopause, your chances are higher.
Early Signs
If you haven’t been through menopause and you have bleeding or spotting -- a red, pink, or white discharge -- between periods, see your doctor. The same is true if you’ve been through menopause and have these same symptoms any time. Bleeding can be a sign of uterine cancer, but it’s also a symptom of a few other medical problems. It can be normal for some women. Your doctor can help you figure out what’s going on.

Other Symptoms

Let your doctor know if you have:
  • Pain in your pelvis (the area between your hips)
  • Lost weight without trying
  • Pain during sex
  • A hard time peeing or it hurts to pee
It’s best if you find uterine cancer before it grows or spreads, so don’t put off your checkups or ignore symptoms.

How It’s Diagnosed

You may have an ultrasound so your doctor can see inside your uterus, and she may send a tiny telescope in through your vagina to get a closer look. But a biopsy is the best way to know if it’s cancer: Your doctor will take a small amount of tissue from the lining and look for cancer cells under a microscope.

Has It spread?

If you have uterine cancer, your doctor will start with one or more of the following to see if it’s spread to nearby organs, like your cervix, or to your lymph nodes (tiny glands in your neck, armpits, and groin):
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI scan, which uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make detailed images of parts of your body
  • CT scan, which takes X-rays from different angles and puts them together to make a more complete picture.

Radiation

Your doctor may recommend this after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may still be there. It may also be an option if surgery isn’t a good idea for you. Your doctor will put tiny radioactive seeds near your tumor or beam radiation at your uterus to kill harmful cells. New types of radiation treatment make a 3-dimensional beam that’s the exact shape of the tumor.

Hormone Therapy

Estrogen and other hormones in your body can make uterine cancer grow or spread faster. New drugs like progestins, tamoxifen, LHRH agonists, and aromatase inhibitors block these hormones to slow the tumor’s growth. This can cause side effects that feel like menopause, including hot flashes, weight gain, or dryness in your vagina.

Targeted Therapy

Some newer drugs use your own cells against the tumor. Antibodies are things your body makes to knock out bugs that make you sick. In targeted therapy, your doctor puts antibodies into your blood to find and destroy the cancer cells. These smart bombs also can carry tiny bits of radiation straight to your tumor to help in the attack.

Clinical Trials

You may be able to be part of a test for new and better drugs to treat uterine cancer. Ask your doctor if there are trials in your area and if one might be right for you.

Your Sex Life

Side effects of uterine cancer treatment can change your sex life. Vaginal dryness or mood changes from hormone therapy may make sex painful or curb your desire. If you’ve had surgery to remove both your ovaries and uterus, you may have the same issues. But lubricants can help with dryness, and some women say their sex lives actually get better after surgery because they have less pain and other symptoms.

Pregnancy

While most women who get uterine cancer are past menopause, younger women can get it, too. If you hope to have children, talk to your doctor about your options, such as storing eggs, before you begin treatment -- surgery, radiation, and hormones can affect your fertility. 

Can You Prevent It?

Get regular women’s health checkups so your doctor can spot any signs of cancer early. Your age, genes, and family history may raise your chance of uterine cancer, but you can do some things to help prevent it, like stay at a healthy weight and get plenty of exercises. And if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, work with your doctor to control it.

Scientists Just Discovered A New Human Organ, And It Could Have Huge Implications For How We Treat Cancer


Scientists Just Discovered A New Human Organ, And It Could Have Huge Implications For How We Treat Cancer.


You would think, after thousands of years of study, we’d have nailed down what was going on inside us. But researchers are arguing that they have accidentally discovered an entirely new organ.
The new structure could even help explain where much of the fluid in our body sits, and may even be the source of lymph, the fluid that is essential to the functioning of our immune system. As such this network, or structure, of fluid-filled channels could be playing a significant role in maintaining our health, as well as propagating disease.
It's not even limited to the obscure parts of us – it is found wrapped around many of our other, more well known, organs. You see, while we thought our lungs, digestive tract, and even our skin were surrounded by tough and dense connective tissue, it turns out that this tissue is in fact riddled with spaces supported through a meshwork of strong connective proteins to prevent them from collapsing, and which freely allow fluid to flow.


This could help explain where so much of our body’s fluid goes. While our cells contain most of the fluid, and the circulatory system carries a whole load more, over a third went unaccounted for and was simply said to be “interstitial”, or just floating around between organs and cells. The researchers claim, in a paper published in Scientific Advances, that the “interstitium” should be defined as an organ in its own right.
They think it may explain why some forms of cancer can spread so rapidly and between unrelated organs. It might also help explain why wrinkles develop, as when you age these channels in the tissue under your skin may fold in on themselves.
It was while conducting routine endoscopies of patients that doctors noticed that the tissue surrounding the bile duct, which should have been fairly solid and dense, was actually covered in an intriguing pattern. When one then decided to take a look using the same device under the skin of his nose, he surprisingly found exactly the same effect.
The key, it seems, was looking at living tissue at such fine magnification. Up until now, medical researchers have relied on fixed tissue microscope slides when studying the human body, say the authors. To do this, they take thin slices of tissue, treat it with chemicals, and dye the structures so that they can be easily identified when placed under a microscope.
The problem, however, is that the fixing drains the tissue of all fluid, and it is expected that this process collapses all the once fluid-filled compartments of the interstitium. Because of this, researchers looking at slides of organs have simply assumed the flattened compartments were tears in the tissue.
It now seems that they will need to do more work to define this structure and convince others that it is an organ in its own right, rather than just a new type of tissue.
“This finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine, including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic tool," explained co-author Neil Theise.