Know your genes for yourself and your family

Endometrial cancer

Knowing your genetic information will provide you and your family with critical information about your endometrial cancer. Your genes will provide your physician information to personalize your treatment, find out your risk of developing additional cancers, and notify your family of their potential hereditary cancer risk. Take control of your health.

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Myriad Onocology's Tests for Endometrial Cancer and What Answers They Provide:

Hereditary cancer testing

myRisk genetic testing

Myriad myRisk® is a gene panel that helps identify your options for treatment, your risk of additional cancers, and if any close family members may be at an elevated risk of developing cancer.

Hereditary cancer risk associated with endometrial cancer

Up to 1 in 11 cases of endometrial cancer are due to hereditary causes.1 This means that the woman with endometrial cancer inherited a genetic mutation that led to her diagnosis. The most common hereditary cause of endometrial cancer is Lynch syndrome.2

It is really important to find out your hereditary risk because in a study of women with Lynch syndrome, women face up to 20% chance of developing a second primary cancer within 10 years after Lynch-syndrome related endometrial cancer, and up to 48% after 20 years.3

If your cancer was caused by a mutation, your children and siblings have a 50% chance of having that same mutation. Genetic testing helps identify these mutations, and it has been found that individuals with an identified hereditary cancer risk have up to a 71% lifetime risk of developing endometrial cancer,4 as well as a much higher risk of developing ovarian, colon and pancreatic cancer.

To see if genetic testing will benefit you, take The Hereditary Cancer Quiz.

What is Endometrial Cancer?5

Endometrial cancer (also know as uterine cancer) is when abnormal cells inside of the uterus begin to grow out of control. The uterus is a hollow organ, normally about the size and shape of a pear, and it is where a fetus grows and develops. Endometrial cancer affects mainly post-menopausal women.

The uterus is made up of two main parts:

  • The upper part of the uterus is called the body or the corpus.
  • The cervix is the lower end of the uterus that joins it to the vagina.

The most common endometrial cancer, endometrial carcinoma, starts in the cells of the inner lining of the uterus. Cancers that start in the cervix and then spread to the uterus are different from the cancers that start in the body of the uterus. These would be considered cervical cancer.

Endometrial Cancer Signs and Symptoms5

About 90% of women with endometrial cancer have abnormal vaginal bleeding. This might be a change in their periods, bleeding between periods, or bleeding after menopause. It’s important to have a doctor check out any irregular bleeding right away. If you’ve gone through menopause, it’s especially important to report any vaginal bleeding, spotting, or abnormal discharge to your healthcare professional.

Non-bloody vaginal discharge may also be a sign of endometrial cancer, any abnormal discharge should be checked out by a doctor.

Common signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • The feeling of a mass
  • Weight loss

Some of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions or cancers. Consult your healthcare professional if you experience any of these prolonged symptoms.

Endometrial Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

Endometrial Cancer Screening5:

Endometrial cancer is most often diagnosed because symptoms appeared. Your doctor may take a tissue sample for testing. There are two forms of endometrial tissue sampling:

Endometrial Biopsy

A very thin, flexible tube is put into the uterus through the cervix. Then, using suction, a small amount of endometrium is removed through the tube. 

Hysteroscopy

A tiny telescope is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. This lets the doctor look for and biopsy anything abnormal, such as a cancer or a polyp.

Endometrial Cancer Staging5:

The 2 systems used for staging endometrial cancer, the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) system and the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM staging system are basically the same.

They both stage (classify) this cancer based on 3 factors:

  • The extent (size) of the tumor (T): How far has the cancer grown into the uterus? Has the cancer reached nearby structures or organs?
  • The spread to nearby lymph nodes (N): Has the cancer spread to the para-aortic lymph nodes? These are the lymph nodes in the pelvis or around the aorta (the main artery that runs from the heart down the back of the abdomen and pelvis).
  • The spread (metastasis) to distant sites (M): Has the cancer spread to distant lymph nodes or distant organs in other parts of the body?

Staging can be complex and require a surgical diagnosis. Talk to your healthcare professional about staging and what to expect for your treatment.

Endometrial Cancer Treatment Options5

Your healthcare provider may suggest a few different options to treat your endometrial cancer. The most common treatment for endometrial cancer is surgery, other treatments may include chemotherapy or radiation.

The most frequent form of surgery for endometrial cancer is a hysterectomy. There are three main types of hysterectomy:

Hysterectomy

This is the surgical removal of the uterus and cervix. When the uterus is removed through an incision in the abdomen, it’s called a simple or total abdominal hysterectomy.

Vaginal Hysterectomy

If the uterus is removed through the vagina, it’s known as a vaginal hysterectomy. This may be an option for women who are not healthy enough for other types of surgery.

Radical Hysterectomy

This is done when the endometrial cancer has spread to the cervix or the area around the cervix. In this operation, the entire uterus, the tissues next to the uterus, and the upper part of the vagina are removed.

 

When used along with other cancer-fighting treatments, surgery can be effective. Talk with your doctor about all the risks and benefits of each treatment and possible side effects.

References
  1. Gayther SA, et al. The inherited genetics of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2010 Jun;20(3):231-238.

  2. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/uterine-cancer/risk-factors-and-prevention

  3. Win AK, et al. Risks of colorectal and other cancers after endometrial cancer for women with Lynch syndrome. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Feb 20; 105(4):274-279.

  4. Hendriks YM, et al. Cancer risk in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer due to MSH6 mutations: impact on counseling and surveillance. Gastroenterology. 2004 Jul;127(1):17-25.

  5. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2020. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.

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