Increased Risk of Endometrial Cancer

Cancer of the lining of the uterus (or womb) is called endometrial cancer. You can increase the chances that endometrial cancer will be found early by having any unusual bleeding checked by your doctor right away. Endometrial cancer can almost always be treated successfully if it’s caught early.

Certain things may put you at greater risk for getting endometrial cancer, one being age. Endometrial cancer is most common in women who are over 50 years old. Women who have never been pregnant and women who use a medicine called tamoxifen may also be at greater risk.

Endometrial cancer can be diagnosed by using endometrial biopsy or by dilatation and curettage (D&C) of the uterus. Both procedures can be effective.

 


Risk factors for Increased Risk of Endometrial Cancer

Childhood  

Early puberty onset



Counter Indicators
Childhood  

Late/delayed puberty onset



Hormones  

Low Progesterone or Estrogen Dominance

High levels of estrogen without opposing progesterone can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Using estrogen replacement therapy without taking progesterone or progestins is also related to a greater risk for endometrial cancer.



 

Low Melatonin Level

Decreased melatonin levels probably contribute to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. See link between Low Melatonin Levels and Endometrial Cancer.



Metabolic  


Supplements and Medications  

(Past) non-human estrogen use

In 1975, The New England Journal of Medicine examined the rates of endometrial cancer for estrogen consumers, concluding that the risk was seven and a half times greater for estrogen users. Women who had used estrogen for seven years or longer were 14 times more likely to develop cancer. [Coney, Sandra, The Menopause Industry, Spinifex Press Pty Ltd., Australia, 1991, pp.164-165]



Symptoms - Food - Beverages  

High alcohol consumption

Postmenopausal women consuming two or more alcoholic beverages a day may double their risk of endometrial cancer, suggests a study led by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC). The study will appear in the International Journal of Cancer, and is now available online. Sept 2007.



Symptoms - Reproductive - Female Cycle  

Late menopause



Counter Indicators
Symptoms - Reproductive - Female Cycle  

Total/radical/partial hysterectomy or hysterectomy with both ovaries or hysterectomy with one ovary



Uro-Genital  

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated not only with infertility but also with a higher risk for endometrial (uterine) cancer.



 



Increased Risk of Endometrial Cancer can lead to

Risks  



Recommendations for Increased Risk of Endometrial Cancer

Botanical  

Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

Women with a history or risk of hormone-related cancers, such as endometrial cancer, should avoid this herb because of possible negative hormonal influences.



Diet  

Alcohol Avoidance

Postmenopausal women consuming two or more alcoholic beverages a day may double their risk of endometrial cancer, suggests a study led by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC). The study will appear in the International Journal of Cancer, and is now available online. Sept 2007.



 

Increased Fish Consumption

Study subjects who ate two or more servings of fish weekly had a much lower risk for esophageal, stomach, colon, rectum, and pancreatic cancers than those who avoided fish. In fact, the rates of these types of cancer were 30 to 50 percent lower among fish eaters. High fish consumption was also associated with lower risks for cancers of the larynx (30 percent lower risk), endometrial cancer (20 percent lower risk), and ovarian cancer (30 percent lower risk).



Lab Tests/Rule-Outs  


Key

Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Weakly counter-indicative
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Highly recommended
Reasonably likely to cause problems

Glossary

Cancer

Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Biopsy

Excision of tissue from a living being for diagnosis.

Dilatation

Normal increase in the size of a body opening, blood vessel, or tube.

D&C

Dilation and curettage or D&C, is the scraping of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). There are two main reasons for performing a D&C: in recently pregnant woman in order to remove tissue remaining in the womb, and as part of the investigation of heavy or irregular periods or vaginal bleeding after menopause.

Estrogen

One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.

Melatonin

The only hormone secreted into the bloodstream by the pineal gland. The hormone appears to inhibit numerous endocrine functions, including the gonadotropic hormones. Research exists on the efficacy of melatonin in treating jet lag and certain sleep disorders. Dosages greater than l milligram have been associated with drowsiness, headaches, disturbances in sleep/wake cycles and is contraindicated in those who are on antidepressive medication. It also negatively influences insulin utilization.

Menopause

The cessation of menstruation (usually not official until 12 months have passed without periods), occurring at the average age of 52. As commonly used, the word denotes the time of a woman's life, usually between the ages of 45 and 54, when periods cease and any symptoms of low estrogen levels persist, including hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, loss of libido and vaginal dryness. When these early menopausal symptoms subside, a woman becomes postmenopausal.

Postmenopause

The postmenopausal phase of a woman's life begins when 12 full months have passed since the last menstrual period and any menopausal symptoms have become milder and/or less frequent.

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