Uterine cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women globally. Uterine cancer in Singapore is also a significant health concern, with an increasing number of cases being diagnosed each year.
What Is Uterine Cancer?
Uterine cancer refers to any cancer that develops in the uterus. The uterus is a muscular organ in the female reproductive system that is responsible for carrying and nourishing the fetus during pregnancy. Uterine cancer can occur in different parts of the uterus, including the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) and the myometrium (the muscular wall of the uterus).
Endometrial cancer is a type of uterine cancer that develops in the endometrium. It is the most common form of uterine cancer, and sometimes, the terms “uterine cancer” and “endometrial cancer” are used interchangeably. Another type of uterine cancer is uterine sarcoma. It is a rare form of uterine cancer that grows within the uterine muscles or other tissues that support the uterus.
Uterine Cancer In Singapore – Incidence Rate
According to the 2020 Singapore Cancer Registry, uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women in Singapore, with a total of 2,968 new cases reported in the period 2016-2020. The incidence rate of uterine cancer has been increasing in Singapore over the past few decades, from an Age-Standardised Incidence Rate of 9.5 per 100,000 population in the period 1998-2002, to 18.1 per 100,000 for 2016-2020.
Who Is At Risk For Uterine Cancer?
While the exact causes of uterine cancer are not known, there are several factors that can increase a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer, including:
- Obesity: Women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer. This is likely to be due to increased levels of estrogen in their bodies.
- Age: Uterine cancer is more common in women over the age of 50.
- Hormonal imbalances: Women who have a hormonal imbalance, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
- Family history: Women who have a close relative (such as a mother or sister) who has had uterine cancer may be at higher risk.
- Tamoxifen use: Women who have taken the breast cancer drug tamoxifen may have a slightly higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
Symptoms Of Uterine Cancer
One of the challenges of diagnosing uterine cancer is that it can be difficult to detect in its early stages. In many cases, women may not experience any symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. However, there are some common symptoms that women with uterine cancer may experience, including:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, heavy bleeding during periods, or bleeding after menopause
- Pelvic pain or discomfort
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Unintended weight loss
It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that a woman has uterine cancer. However, if a woman experiences any of these symptoms, she should see a doctor for a thorough evaluation. This is because early detection is crucial for improving the chances of successful treatment. In addition, women over the age of 50 or those with a family history of endometrial cancer should also consult their doctors about regular screenings.
Uterine Cancer Prevention
Although there is no certain way to prevent uterine cancer, there are some steps that women can take to reduce their risk, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight;
- Exercising regularly;
- Eating a healthy diet; and
- Managing other health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Further Reading That Might Interest You
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.