Uterine cancer is a disease that strikes women most often in their 40s and 50s. It is a disease of post-menopausal women and is sometimes discovered because of spotting and vaginal bleeding after menopause has been completed. Diagnosis of uterine cancer is happening earlier and earlier in the disease such that treatment and potential cure are in reach for more women.
There are still women who dont discover their uterine cancer until it has reached a later stage and metastasis is more probable. Women who present to their doctor with purulent vaginal discharge, abdominal bloating and pelvic pain have a higher risk of diagnosis of uterine cancer at a later stage in the disease.
Tumors in the female reproductive tract can be benign or malignant. The malignant tumors are the ones that are called cancer. They are the tumors that are more likely to spread to surrounding tissues and organs while benign tumors are more organized and dont spread, although they do grow. An example of a benign tumor are fibroids which continue to grow throughout the period of life in which a woman experiences her period and then slowly shrink when the estrogen levels drop during menopause.
Uterine cancer metastasis happens when the tumors grow beyond the original organ. Endometrial cancer begins in the endometrial layer of the uterus while sarcomas originate in the myometrium or muscle layer of the uterus.
When the cancer spreads outside the uterus the cells are often found in nearby lymph nodes, nerves or blood vessels. When the cancer cells reach the lymph nodes they have the immediate potential to reach other organs served by the lymphatic system such as the lungs, liver and bones.
When these metastatic cells reach another organ, such as the liver, they are actually uterine cancer cells. The disease isnt liver cancer. It is treated as uterine cancer cells in the liver. Physicians sometimes refer to this placement of the disease as a distant disease.
During the staging process the physician also considers the pathologist report which looks at the differentiation of the cells of the adenocarcinoma. Those cancers which are poor differentiated have a high rate of metastasis than those which are well differentiated.
In the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology researchers found that in tumors that have a solitary metastasis removal of the tumor, without evidence of systemic disease, offers hope for prolonged survival. Their case study was reported in a 43-year old woman who survived 7 years after her hysterectomy and 6 years after surgical removal of a single brain lesion.
Uterine cancer metastasis have the potential to spread to many different organs of the body but the most likely appear to be the rectum, vagina, bladder, lymphatic system, liver, bones and brain.
Uterine cancer metastasis signals stage IV of the disease and a decreased survival rate due to the medical condition. The uterine cancer cells destroy the organs they invade and dont allow the organ to function properly. Without function of the liver, lungs, brain, bones, GI tract or bladder the prognosis for survival drops tremendously.
Early diagnosis and treatment of uterine cancer decreases the likelihood and probabilities of metastasis that decrease the survival rates of the sufferer. With proper education, yearly examination and consistent follow up care women are less likely to suffer from Stage III and Stage IV disease.