The uterus has two layers- the inner endometrium and the outer myometrium. All cancers in the uterus start in the endometrium before spreading. The most common type of endometrial cancer is the endometrioid adenocarcinoma.
The incidence is on a rise worldwide, including India. Endometrial hyperplasia is a more common precancerous condition in which the cells in the uterus are not yet cancerous but have a high potential of being so. Endometrial cancers do not often feature in the crowdfunding platforms in India, and it is high time they did so.
There are the following types of endometrial carcinoma- adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, carcinosarcoma, undifferentiated carcinoma and small cell carcinoma. It must be noted here that endometrial cancer is different from other uterine cancers which are more commonly known- ovarian cancer and cervical cancer. Endometrial cancer happens in the upper part of the uterus while cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix, which is the lower part. Ovarian cancer is the cancer of one or both the ovaries, as the name suggests.
Who are the most vulnerable?
The following risk factors have been identified- age over 35 years (most common among women in the 50-60 age group), hypertension, high levels of estrogen, infertility, late menopause, early menarche, breast or ovarian cancer, bad lifestyle habits like lack of exercise and high animal protein intake, alcohol, infertility among others.
What are the symptoms of endometrial cancer?
Endometrial cancer has a high rate of survival if caught early on, which sadly does not happen, especially for Indian women for whom the uterus is often a taboo subject. This also impedes awareness. The most common symptoms of endometrial cancer are abnormal bleeding in terms of volume or timing, pain during coitus, enlargement of the uterus which can be detected only during medical examinations, vaginal discharges often colored and smelly, problems and pain during urination, pelvic pain and sudden weight loss.
How can endometrial cancer be treated?
The ways in which endometrial cancer can be treated are surgical procedures in the early stages, hysterectomy except in the advanced stages, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. And like all other cancer types, the treatment is beyond the affordability of those below the upper middle class.
The socially disadvantaged women are the most vulnerable to endometrial cancer- they are also often vulnerable to long term sexual abuse.
And besides, Indian women in general are reluctant to participate in a public discourse, which is more often than not lacking. Basic endometrial cancer treatment ranges from 15 to 20 lakhs rupees at least, cancer being the most expensive of diseases to currently plague the country. Cancer crowdfunding is largely successful, and can be done both at an individual level and as a collective.
Platforms as reputed asFundraising in India can serve to not only raise awareness, but also to make the message reach far and wide.