Womb cancer: Why early diagnosis is a live-saver

Womb cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the UK and is on the increase each year due to changes in our lifestyles, but luckily, it is almost always curable if caught at an early stage.

The womb is designed to bleed if a women is experiencing anything unexpected - so when a cancerous tumour is present, it produces symptoms of bleeding when very early and small.

If you are able to detect womb cancer in the early stages, you have a very good chance of being cured by a hysterectomy alone; avoiding other treatments such as chemotherapy. This is because the tumour begins its growth inside the menstrual cavity. This cavity is surrounded by muscle thick and strong enough to push a baby through the vagina. This thick muscle provides a wall between the cancer and the rest of the body.

If you have an abnormal or unexpected bleed, you should tell your doctor. They will probably suggest an ultrasound scan, which should show if the bleeding is due to age, a harmless skin tag (polyp) or a treatable tumour. If there is any niggling doubt about your symptoms, your doctor can examine the vagina and to take a sample to make a diagnosis.

It’s so important to check out unexpected bleeding – and to talk more openly about the issues that surround this. Women should know it isn’t normal to bleed during menopause or in-between periods.

But the good news is: If you catch a tumour before it’s had time to grow through the muscle and into the body - then you have a good chance of a cure.

Discussion point: How can we get women talking about unusual symptoms without fear of embarrassment or stigma? Did you have any other unusual symptoms that it would be useful to share? 

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