Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

A fibroid is a benign and noncancerous tumor that grows in the muscle tissue of the uterus or myometrium in women. Only 0.5% of fibroids develop into malignant tumors (sarcomas) in women. It is estimated that approximately one in four to five women over 35 years of age suffer from myoma.

How Many Types Of Uterine Cancer Are There?

The most common type of cancer of the uterus is called endometrial cancer (adenocarcinoma). This type of cancer can occur when it forms in the lining of the uterus. There are two main types of uterine cancer:

-Adenocarcinoma: It constitutes almost 80% of uterine cancers. It develops from the cells of the tissue that lines the uterus called the endometrium.

-Uterine Sarcoma: This is a very rare type of cancer that starts in the muscular wall of the uterus.

Can Uterine Fibroids Turn Into Cancer?

Uterine cancer is a disease in which the cells of the uterus change and multiply uncontrollably, forming a mass of tissue called "tumor", which can be malignant or benign. Only in rare occasions, uterine fibroids which are benign tumors can turn to cancer, but they cannot spread to other parts of the body.

Symptoms vary frequently according to the location and tendency of development, evolutionary state, rapidity of growth and anatomical state of the tumor. With the aggravating circumstance that in its beginnings the diagnosis is very difficult, especially since the signs and symptoms are common to many gynecological entities, both benign and malignant. According to its pathogenesis, the symptoms can be divided into three categories:

A - Symptoms that show the existence of an intramural tumor of more or less rapid development, but has the uterine mucosa or peritoneum.

B - Symptoms due to invasion of the perimetry or endometrium.

C - Symptoms due to a local complication (hemorrhage, necrosis, infection, etc.).

In general, it can be said that in the first of these categories, the symptomatology does not differ greatly from that of a woman who carries a complicated myoma with a more or less rapid development. The differential diagnosis is therefore difficult, while in the second, the symptoms of a mucosal lesion or symptoms of peritoneal reaction dominate. The local symptoms of the third category are obvious and we will refer to them immediately.

The most important in order of frequency are: hemorrhage, uterine flow, pain and compression symptoms.

In the initial period of the disease, metrorrhagia is observed in more than half of the cases. It may be abundant or scarce, continuous or discontinuous, painful or painless, but may be absent when the endometrium is not injured. On the other hand, it is of great significance when it occurs after menopause and particularly when in these postmenopausal cases, the uterus is the site of myomatous growths. In young women there may be excessive menstrual bleeding, or intermenstrual or both. Necessarily the hemorrhage is only suggestive of possible malignancy and can be found more frequently in the carcinoma than in the sarcoma.

The uterine flow seems to be a less striking symptom than metrorrhagia. In the early stages it appears to be watery, but sooner or later it becomes serosanguineous. Later, as a result of necrosis and ulceration, it can become stinky and may even contain necrotic particles or tissue fragments. The rapid growth of a myomatous tumor, especially when it is associated with hemorrhage, should make doctors suspect the presence of a sarcoma.

Pain is a late and variable symptom in its intensity and semiological characteristics, often present in the advanced infiltrative states of the disease.

In advanced states, in addition to cachexia (loss of weight, muscle atrophy, fatigue, weakness and significant loss of appetite), there is anemia that is directly related to the volume of blood loss during the course of the disease and to the degree of intoxication produced by the absorption of foreign proteins from the same tumor.

For this same mechanism, variable thermal increases occur, to which the over-added infection is added.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 20, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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