Many of you know that I am a cancer survivor.
Because September is Uterine Cancer Awareness Month, I’m setting aside my usual content to share some important information with you. It could save your life or the life of a woman you love.
1. Be aware. All women are at risk for uterine cancer, but the risk increases with age. Most uterine cancers are found in women who are going through or who have gone through menopause. Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the United States and the most common gynecologic cancer. Each year in the United States about 45,000 women get uterine cancer and about 8,400 die from it. Some of the symptoms are similar to menopause, so awareness is key to catching the cancer early. Often uterine cancer is easy to cure.
2. Know the symptoms: Uterine cancer may cause vaginal discharge or bleeding that is not normal for you. Bleeding may be abnormal because of how heavy it is or when it happens, such as after you have gone through menopause, between periods, or any other bleeding that is longer or heavier than is normal for you. Uterine cancer may also cause other symptoms, such as pain or pressure in your pelvis.
3. Understand the risks: There is no way to know for sure if you will get uterine cancer. Some women get it without being at high risk. However, several factors may increase the chance that you will get uterine cancer, including if you—
• Are older than 50.
• Are obese (have an abnormally high, unhealthy amount of body fat).
• Take estrogen by itself (without progesterone) for hormone replacement during menopause.
• Have had trouble getting pregnant, or have had fewer than five periods in a year before starting menopause.
• Take tamoxifen, a drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer.
• Have close family members who have had uterine, colon, or ovarian cancer.
If one or more of these things is true for you, it does not mean you will get uterine cancer. But you should speak with your doctor to see if he or she recommends more frequent exams.
(All information above comes from The CDC.)
My uterine cancer was diagnosed in 2010, caught early and treated with surgery alone—no chemo or radiation. After my hysterectomy, I went for checkups every three months, then every four months, and until I reach five years I will go twice a year. I have no evidence of disease. So, you see, if caught early, uterine cancer can be put into remission and cured in a relatively simple way. In fact, the five-year survival rate when caught early is 96%.
If you have symptoms, call your doctor. Please don’t wait. More often, the diagnosis is NOT cancer, still don’t take the risk. Get checked out.
Will you do something for me? Please click on this link. It will take you to my Facebook page where you can read about my book, An Issue of Blood, Facing Uterine Cancer with Faith. I have combined my own story with important information that will help women become aware of uterine cancer and its risks.
My prayer is to get the word out to as many women as possible. You can help by “liking” the page and sharing it with your Facebook friends.
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