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What Is a Uterine Neoplasm?

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  • Written By: A. Reed
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A uterine neoplasm refers to the condition of abnormal cell growth creating a mass or tumor in the uterus, a major structure of the female reproductive system. Tumor growth capable of pervading other tissues of the body are metastatic and cancerous, while benign neoplasms do not spread, remaining contained such as with polyps and fibroids. Encompassing many diseases, uterine cancer is the most common type of gynecological cancer, typically affecting the endometrium, the tissue lining the uterus.

Under normal circumstances, cells divide, repair, and die in a cyclic, controlled manner. Neoplasms are caused by cells growing uncontrollably, competing for space and nutrients with those that are healthy. Due to a genetic mutation in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), cells cannot function properly, leading to symptoms such as post-menopausal vaginal bleeding, abnormal discharge, and pain in the pelvic region. Bloating, abnormal bladder and bowel habits, abdominal pain, and anorexia are characteristic of metastatic uterine neoplasms in the advanced stages.

Although growth of a uterine neoplasm commonly arises within the endometrium, it can also develop in the myometrium or cervix. Accounting for most of the uterus, the myometrium consists of smooth muscle tissue critical for contractions during labor. The cervix is the lower portion of the uterus, connecting to the top of the vagina.

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Caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer is typically diagnosed via Pap smear screening, but there is no additional screening available for uterine cancer. Those who have had estrogen-only replacement therapy, are obese, or who have had difficulty becoming pregnant are at increased risk of developing a cancerous uterine neoplasm. Having a family history of the disease, including cancers of the ovaries and colon, are some common risk factors.

In most instances, uterine neoplasms are completely treatable through surgery without additional therapies, particularly with endometrial cancers. Other modalities, such as radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy, may be used in conjunction with surgery depending on the type of cancer, prognosis, and its stage of development. Fibroids and polyps, noncancerous forms of uterine neoplasms, are generally treated by surgical removal.

Even though no fail-proof methods exist for preventing uterine cancer, certain behaviors could be helpful. Taking combination oral contraceptive formulas, breastfeeding, and exercising regularly, as well as consuming a high-fiber diet low in saturated fats decreases risk of uterine neoplasm by lowering estrogen levels. Cessation of smoking may also lower the risk.

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