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Friday, November 04, 2005

Uterine cancer

Dear Dr. Amy,

My mum had a period a few weeks ago but she has finished menopause 3 years ago. She went to her doctor who refered her to a specialist. On her appointment the specialist said the lining of the uterus is thickened to an extent that it causes concern. He did an in office biopsy, and we're now waiting for the results. We are so worried. My mum is in pain and not very optimistic. Can you tell me how likely uterine cancer is? What will happen if it is cancer? What else could it be? Please help.

Thank you for your time,
Nicola Jane

Dear Nicola Jane,

Vaginal bleeding after menopause is always a cause for concern because it raises the possibility of cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial cancer). It sounds like your mother has been receiving excellent care; her doctors are taking all the appropriate steps to figure out what is wrong.

In light of the bleeding and the thickened uterine lining, there are probably abnormal cells within the lining. They could be precancer or cancer. Neither is a cause for panic, since endometrial cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat and cure. Sometimes all that is needed is a hysterectomy.

For more information on endometrial cancer, you can visit the web site of the National Cancer Institute at www.nci.nih.gov. They have ourstanding resources and educational materials.

The odds are very high that this can be successfully treated.

Sincerely,
Amy

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