If additional bleeding occurs suddenly during menopause or bleeding occurs again after menopause, a doctor should be consulted. A uterine sarcoma is characterized by these symptoms and should be ruled out or treated as quickly as possible.
What is uterine sarcoma?
Uterine sarcoma is a very rare form of cancer that can affect a woman ‘s uterus. The tumor cells grow in the muscles of the organ also known as the uterus.
Four different stages are distinguished according to the degree of spread. In stage I, tumor cells can only be detected within the uterus, while in stage II they have already spread to the cervix. In III. In stage IV, other pelvic organs are affected, and in stage IV, organs such as the bladder or rectum are also colonized by cancer cells from the sarcoma of the uterus. For metatarsalgia 101, please visit photionary.com.
The causes of uterine sarcoma are still largely unknown. This form of cancer often arises on its own. However, it is believed that fibroids also play a role in the development of sarcomas in the uterus.
These benign growths occur in many women. However, such a fibroid only degenerates in very few women. This usually happens during or after menopause. Out of 1,000 women with fibroids, only 1 will actually develop uterine sarcoma.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Uterine sarcoma is rare. Most women are affected after menopause. Unusual bleeding from the uterus is symptomatic. These are commonly referred to as spotting. They are brownish in color and appear at irregular intervals. Younger women, on the other hand, usually complain that their menstrual period is unusually long. The intensity can also increase.
At first, a uterine sarcoma often goes undetected. Swelling is recognized by very few women. As the tumor grows, so does the pain. The tumor presses on the nerves in the immediate vicinity. Women then usually complain of local persistent pain. A feeling of discomfort also sets in and points to a psychological component of the disease. In this context, the uterus regularly enlarges, which is due to the growth of the tumor.
Sometimes there are signs that, at first glance, are not directly related to uterine sarcoma. This includes pain in the lower abdomen. They can be the result of a tumor that has developed in the pelvis. Sometimes those affected also complain about problems in the gastrointestinal tract. In particular, difficult bowel movements in combination with other symptoms can indicate a tumor disease.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of uterine sarcoma is made by the gynecologist. If there is a suspicion, a gynecological examination is carried out first.
The organs of the pelvis are scanned for any knots or other irregularities. A swab from the cervix is usually not meaningful for diagnosing this disease in the early stages because the tumor cells spread inside the uterus, unlike in cervical cancer. The tissue necessary to detect the cancer is usually obtained by curettage.
The so-called scraping of the uterus takes place on an outpatient or inpatient basis under general anesthesia. The cervix is first stretched. The tissue is then removed from the uterus in layers and examined.
The course of the disease and thus the chances of a cure depend on the stage of the uterine sarcoma and thus the degree of its spread. Another point of reference is the general state of health of the affected woman and the speed with which the tumor cells are spreading.
In the early stages, a uterine sarcoma usually progresses without major symptoms. Complications can arise if the cancer is detected too late. There is then a risk that the tumor cells will infect other organs and spread to the bladder or rectum, for example. The consequences of metastasis are functional failures of the affected organs.
Urinary retention and incontinence can occur in the bladder area. If the rectum is affected, gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation occur. If the course is unfavorable, a uterine sarcoma can cause life-threatening complications. Surgical treatment involves the usual risks, i.e. infections, high blood loss and injuries to nerves and muscles.
Radiation therapy carries the risk of radiation damage. A typical complication is the so-called radiation hangover, which manifests itself in the form of headaches and nausea and occasionally also causes bleeding and hair loss. In the long term, damage to the genetic material and tissue degeneration can occur.
Hormone therapy increases the risk of venous thrombosis, stroke and heart attack. If the patient takes strong painkillers, side effects and interactions can occur. People with allergies may experience an allergic reaction or even anaphylactic shock.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of a uterine sarcoma, the person concerned should definitely contact a doctor. It is a serious disease that should definitely be examined and treated by a doctor. In the worst case, it can lead to the death of those affected if the uterine sarcoma is not treated. Therefore, a doctor should be contacted at the very first signs and symptoms of this disease.
The doctor should be consulted if the affected person suffers from frequent spotting. These occur mainly during the menopause and can be associated with severe abdominal pain. As a rule, this also leads to swelling of the uterus and further to a strong loss of weight. This loss of weight cannot be compensated for with additional food. It is not uncommon for permanent constipation to indicate a uterine sarcoma.
With this disease, a general practitioner or a gynecologist can be contacted. Further treatment is usually carried out in a hospital by a specialist.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of uterine sarcoma depends on the stage and thus the spread of the disease. There are basically four forms of treatment that can be used individually or in combination. This includes the operation in which the tumor tissue is removed.
Radiation therapy with high doses of radiation can be used to destroy or shrink tumor cells. Chemotherapy uses drugs to fight cancer cells. The medication is administered in tablet form or via an infusion. Targeted hormone therapy can also prevent tumor cells from growing. These drugs are also taken in pill form.
At the beginning of the treatment, however, there is usually an operation. In the so-called total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and lymphadenectomy, the fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed in addition to the uterus and some pelvic lymph nodes. Depending on the stage of the uterine sarcoma, the therapies already mentioned are then used. The aim is always to kill off the remaining tumor tissue as far as possible and thus enable healing.
If this does not succeed completely, the patient suffers a so-called recurrence and thus the return of the uterine sarcoma. In this case, an attempt is made to prevent the further growth of the tumor and to alleviate the patient’s existing symptoms with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Uterine sarcoma occurs mainly in women during or after menopause. If other bleeding occurs outside of the menstrual period or if a woman in the menopause has bleeding again, this can be an indication of a uterine sarcoma. A gynecologist should therefore be consulted to rule out uterine sarcoma. Women who have been treated with radiation therapy in the pelvic area are at an increased risk of developing this form of cancer.
Follow-up care follows cancer. It is also mandatory for a uterine sarcoma. It is intended to realize an early detection of a tumor recurrence. This increases the effectiveness of the treatment. The patient can also experience support in everyday life through close monitoring. In the case of sarcoma of the uterus, there is a particular risk that it will spread to other organs.
This distant metastasis must be recognized in good time because it significantly reduces life expectancy. For this purpose, the patient agrees on an examination rhythm with a resident oncologist. Follow-up care takes place every three months for the first two years. Statistically speaking, this is the time when the risk of recurrence is highest.
Then the distance widens; From the fifth year, annual follow-up is sufficient. Irrespective of this rhythm, patients consult a doctor in the event of acute symptoms. A follow-up examination includes a detailed interview and a physical examination. In addition, a blood test is usually ordered. Doctors also use imaging methods such as sonography and CT. If necessary, a bladder and colonoscopy are indicated.
Follow-up care for uterine sarcoma can also be palliative. Then doctors no longer expect any success from a treatment. It is then a matter of eliminating pain and, if necessary, clarifying psychological questions about life.
You can do that yourself
The treatment of uterine sarcoma can be supported, among other things, by physical activity and an adapted diet. After treatment is complete, exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate rest promote recovery. The sporting measures should be fun and ideally accompany the tumor treatment. Suitable sports are swimming, aqua jogging, strength gymnastics or yoga. Breathing exercises and step aerobics are also available.
After radiation therapy, as is necessary for advanced sarcomas, the patients often suffer from loss of appetite. The menu should contain foods rich in vitamins and minerals, but also foods that stimulate the appetite. Favorite meals are a good way to maintain a normal diet and provide the weakened body with all the essential nutrients during and after treatment.
Talk therapy helps to work through the trauma of a tumor disease. Affected women can also exchange information with other patients. Self-help groups or internet forums are a good way to get in touch with other people affected and not only to improve your own handling of the disease, but also to develop further self-help measures in order to recognize accompanying symptoms and subsequent complaints and to treat them in addition to medical therapy.