Endometrial Cancer: How to Recognize the Symptoms | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

4 years ago
Team Xplore's picture

To learn more about how endometrial cancer is diagnosed and treated, visit: http://www.dana-farber.org/Adult-Care/Treatment-and-Support/Endometrial-...

Megan Elkins, diagnosed with endometrial cancer at age 37, says she was lucky her disease was caught early. Experts, like Dr. Suzanne Berlin, at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber stress the importance of knowing the symptoms and risk factors for endometrial cancer, including pelvic pain, irregular bleeding, obesity and a family history.


Megan: First you sit down. Good job.

Reporter: Megan Elkins is happy to be teaching her dog Lee new tricks. The 37-year-old has her strength back after surgery and months of chemotherapy to battle endometrial cancer—a cancer that starts in the uterus. But Megan says she was lucky. Her cancer was caught early.

Megan: If I didn’t have a pain, if that mass in my ovary wasn’t growing, I never would have—I wouldn’t have had the pain. I wouldn’t have had the fullness. I wouldn’t ever have known, and it could have been stage 2 or 3 or 4, and at that point, it may have been too late.

Reporter: Catching endometrial cancer early is why it’s important to know the warning signs. Besides fullness, women should see their doctor if they have pelvic pain or irregular bleeding. Dr. Suzanne Berlin is Megan’s doctor. She’s an endometrial cancer expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She says perimenopausal—women about to start menopause—are also at risk.

Dr. Berlin: I would recommend to women that if they’re having irregular bleeding during the perimenopausal time that they should follow up with their gynecologist and not make the assumption that this is just a perimenopausal issue.

Reporter: Dr. Berlin says women should also know risk factors for the disease include family history of endometrial cancer and obesity. Convinced her weight contributed to her diagnosis, Megan has lost more than 60 pounds and hopes to continue losing more weight.

Megan: I do want to start bike riding and roller blading. I haven’t started yet, but I hope that’s going to happen soon.

Reporter: She’s also planning a trip someplace warm with her boyfriend, now that her cancer treatment is behind her. At Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston, I’m Anne Doerr.