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The increased rate of deaths from endometrial cancer can be reduced by making women aware of the warning signs and risks for the disease and by treatment by a gynecologic oncologist once diagnosed, according to the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) in Chicago.
Concerned that the rate of women dying from endometrial cancer has increased by 128% since 1987 while the mortality rate from other forms of gynecologic cancers has decreased or remained stable, the organization launched an initiative to educate women about the disease.
Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system, but when it’s detected early and confined to the uterus, the cure rate is greater than 85%, says Beth Karlan, MD, director of the division of gynecological oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Factors associated with increased risk include obesity, hypertension, diabetes, inappropriate estrogen use, tamoxifen use, and late menopause. The most common warning signs are vaginal bleeding after menopause or irregular vaginal bleeding in pre-menopausal women.
The SGO has developed four steps as an educational path to help women protect their gynecological health:
Endometrial cancer should be treated by a specialist, the SGO says. "Just as you would see a cardiologist for heart problems, women need to have a gynecologic oncologist involved in the treatment of reproductive tract cancers because they are specially trained to manage these diseases," says Karl C. Podratz, MD, PhD, professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, MN.