Fran Drescher didn't fall under the usual risk categories for uterine cancer and it took a while for doctors to figure out what was happening to her.
The Nanny star Fran Drescher had to struggle for a long time to get a diagnosis for what was happening to her. By the time she was diagnosed with uterine cancer, it had been two years. The sitcom star told The Washington Post, "It took me two years and eight doctors to get a proper diagnosis for uterine cancer. I got in the stirrups more times than Roy Rogers."
She explained that it took so long for her diagnosis because she didn't fit the bill. This kind of cancer usually occurs in women who are postmenopausal and obese but she was neither. "I kept slipping through the cracks,” she said.
She underwent four months of hormone therapy as doctors believed she was experiencing early menopause. She was given estrogen which just exacerbated her symptoms. Eventually, it took a biopsy for the diagnosis to happen. "By the grace of God, I was still in stage one," she said. "I was lucky. That cancer happens to be very slow growing."
She is in remission now and created the Cancer Schmancer Foundation to raise awareness about the early signs of cancer. "We have a medical philosophy that if you hear hooves galloping, don’t look for a zebra, it’s probably a horse," she said. "But if you happen to be a zebra you are going to slip through the cracks."
In the U.S., uterine cancer is the fourth most common kind of cancer that affects women and it is the most commonly diagnosed gynecologic cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms may be hard to catch since they are similar to other changes in the body. However, knowing more about it will help catch it early and treat it.
Here are four early signs of uterine cancer:
If you experience pain in the pelvis or feel a mass (tumor) in the area then you should see your physician. Along with this, if you are losing weight unexpectedly then you could be seeing the early symptoms of uterine cancer of which endometrial cancer is the most common type. This is a slow-moving cancer and these symptoms are more likely to occur in the later stages of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Any of these symptoms could be caused by other reasons too which is why it is important to get it checked out by a doctor to ensure that the reason is a benign one.
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus or womb and endometrial cancer is also called uterine cancer. One of the symptoms of this disease is having trouble going to the toilet to pass urine or pain when you do go. Normally, when we pee, it is a steady stream and the process is painless unless someone has a urinary tract infection. It could be that you are not able to able to pass urine because there is no urge or are experiencing discomfort when you do so, as per the royal women's hospital. In both cases, you should seek a physician's opinion to ensure that all is well.
The vaginal discharge doesn't have to be bleeding only. The discharge could also have a little blood or it would be too watery, too thick, brownish, or would emanate a bad smell. All of these signs mean other things too but it's better to know what's going on in your body. If you have discharge after menopause, then it's more reason to worry. For some women, the discharge can be non-bloody and that can also mean that they have cancer, as per the American Cancer Society.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding or abnormal uterine bleeding is a common symptom of uterine cancer. It is also common for women to experience it due to hormonal changes. It could be that they have spotting between periods or heavy flow during periods. However, it is also a sign of more serious diseases such as cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, or ovarian cancer, according to VerywellHealth.
Abnormal bleeding can be bleeding after menopause, bleeding during or after sex or douching, bleeding between periods, and heavy periods. Postmenopausal women are at a higher risk of this kind of cancer and should see their physician if they experience these symptoms.