According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), endometrial cancer, also known as endometrial carcinoma, usually begins in the interior lining of the uterus. There are four main stages: Stage I—the cancer is only in the uterus; stage II—the cancer has moved into the cervix; stage III—the cancer has moved into the lymph nodes, ovaries, vagina, and fallopian tubes; stage IV—the cancer has spread to your rectum, bladder, and other organs. Endometrial carcinoma treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy to target and destroy cancerous cells. The lesser-known symptoms of endometrial cancer are as follows:
1. Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Nearly 90% of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer experience abnormal vaginal bleeding. Often, this presents itself as changes in monthly menstruation, bleeding between menstrual periods, or bleeding after menopause. Although you can experience non-cancer issues that also cause abnormal bleeding, you should still seek medical attention immediately. In particular, you should visit your doctor if you experience any abnormal vaginal discharge if you’re past your menopause stage
2. Pelvic pain
If you’re feeling pain in your pelvic area, it could signify that you have endometrial cancer. Though this symptom is more prevalent in the later stages of the disease, it can appear as early as stage I in some patients. Therefore, pelvic pain is a symptom of endometrial cancer that you shouldn’t ignore
3. Painful urination (dysuria)
One of the lesser-known symptoms of endometrial cancer, dysuria is characterized as feeling pain, discomfort, or a burning sensation while urinating. Although painful urination is also associated with other problems, including yeast infection, it’s important to get medical attention if you’re feeling pain when urinating.
4. Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
Painful intercourse is another lesser-known symptom of endometrial cancer. If you often feel pain during and after sexual intercourse with your partner, it could signify that you have endometrial cancer. You can also experience pain during sex for several other reasons, including insufficient lubrication, emotional factors, and UTIs. Nevertheless, visit your doctor if you feel pain during or after sex to ensure it’s not being caused by endometrial cancer.
5. A mass in the pelvic area
A mass in the pelvic area may be endometrial cancer. However, many other conditions, including pregnancy, can also cause a mass in your pelvic area. This is why it is important to seek your doctor’s opinion whenever you feel a lump in your pelvic area so you can disqualify the possibility of having endometrial cancer.
6. Watery white discharge
If you start having a watery white discharge with a foul smell, it could be a sign of endometrial cancer. However, like with most other endometrial cancer symptoms, this can also be caused by other issues, including yeast infection, which is why seeking an official diagnosis is important.
You need to understand these lesser-known symptoms of endometrial cancer to take the necessary precautions before it advances. Following a diagnosis, our doctor will be able to advise you on the available options for endometrial carcinoma treatment.