The 5 warning signs of endometrial cancer
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Kelly was diagnosed with endometrial cancer at 32 after being told this cancer doesn't affect young women. For Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, we help you recognise the signs and symptoms of uterine cancer because early detection saves lives.
'I was told my abnormal bleeding was normal'
For about 14 months, Kelly had experienced daily periods with heavy clots.
I went to urgent cares, gynecologists, and emergency rooms and was told my abnormal bleeding was “normal.” While in the ER after bleeding clots for 12 hours straight, they told me my uterus looked “perfect.”
Kelly shares that her doctors wanted to put her on birth control and send her on her way, but she refused due to prior bad experiences with mood changes. Unfortunately, her doctors did nothing to explore further.
'I wish I knew cancer was a possibility'
Today, Kelly wishes she knew cancer was a possibility, but every time she googled her symptoms it said 'only post-menopausal are at risk of uterine cancer' so she just accepted it wasn't cancer. However, the reality was different.
If you're young and experiencing heavy, abnormal bleeding, and tests show it’s not fibroids or polyps, demand a uterine biopsy or d&c procedure*! I know women in their teens who are diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
*A dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus.
Know the signs of endometrial cancer
Pap smears and ultrasounds can't diagnose uterine cancer.
Common signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer to watch for:
1. Unusual bleeding
According to the American Cancer Society, about 9 out of 10 women with endometrial cancer have abnormal vaginal bleeding. If you experience heavy periods, unusual bleeding or spotting between periods, or after menopause, it’s worth getting it checked to make sure it's not cancer.
2. Pelvic pain
Strong pain in the pelvic region as well as pain during sex can be a sign of endometrial cancer due to the growth of cells on the inner lining.
3. Pain urinating
Feeling like you have to pee often or urgently could be a warning sign. Passing urine should also be painless - if you feel discomfort talk to your doctor.
4. Vaginal discharge
Any type of unusual vaginal discharge (e.g. blood-tinged, watery, thick, brownish or smelly) is something you want to have checked by your doctor.
5. Weight loss
If you're experiencing weight loss 'out of the blue', especially if combined with one or more of the above symptoms, don't delay booking your doctor appointment.
Having those symptoms doesn’t always mean you have endometrial cancer, but it’s super important for your health, and your life, that you chat to your doctor about it. If there’s something there, you want to catch it early, and if all is well, then it’s peace of mind. Either way you win my darling.
Thank you Kelly for sharing your experience and insights. We look forward to seeing you all in the Girls Rocking Cancer Community on Facebook or Instagram. You can also reach out to Kelly on Instagram @healthaftercancer where she chronicles survivorship.
Kelly and Mel