Mon Nov 13 13:26:00 EAT 2017
Cancer of the uterus stole the life of a woman I admired
Endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer begins in the layer of cells that form the lining of the uterus.
If you were to ask ‘who inspires me’, you’ll probably be surprised that none of them come from the medical background, as it might be expected.
An iconic American journalist, late Gwen Ifill has been my idol – she has not only touched people across various societies through her work of journalism but also the dedication towards her work has left an important footprint on my mind.
Ifill covered politics for several media and has also co-moderated a democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during last year’s election prep. That’s when I strongly applauded her. She’s probably the reason I’ve taken up a keen interest in doing what I do in this column; reflecting the truth through writing to help many make informed choices.
This week marks a year since her death. Ifill was a victim of endometrial cancer, a type of cancer that begins in the uterus. Ifill’s inspiring nature had touched me to a great extent, the very reason why I want to pen down about endometrial cancer, a disease that stole life of this inspirational woman.
As I mentioned earlier, this cancer begins in the uterus. The uterus is the hollow, pear-shaped pelvic organ in women where foetal development occurs.
Endometrial cancer, also referred to as uterine cancer, starts in the layer of cells that form the lining of the uterus. Bear in mind that other types of cancer can also form in the uterus including uterine sarcoma but these are not common in Tanzania, including endometrial cancer itself.
Pay attention to the signs
In most cases, endometrial cancer is often detected at an early stage because it frequently produces abnormal vaginal bleeding, which prompts women to see their doctors. Like any type of cancer, endometrial cancer if detected early, treatment can be effective.
The majority of women with endometrial cancer have vaginal bleeding, although women who have not gone through menopause may experience irregular or heavy bleeding completely unrelated to cancer.
Women are advised to pay attention to symptoms like vaginal bleeding especially after menopause, bleeding between periods, an abnormal watery or blood-tinge from vagina and pelvic pain. These are common endometrial cancer warnings that women shouldn’t ignore.
Know your risks
There are plenty of risk factors for the diseases that women should be aware of and extreme body weight fits the bill. As obesity rates rise in Tanzania, doctors are seeing higher rates of endometrial cancer risks. Being obese increases your risk of endometrial cancer. This may occur because excess body fat alters your body’s hormonal balance.
Other risk factors include: more years of menstruation, to have never conceived, older age, hormone therapy for breast cancer and other inherited disorders.
It is possible to lower your risk of endometrial cancer. I recommend doing what you can do to maintain a healthy weight. It is also important to listen to your body and act if something seems strange, irrespective of your age.