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Annie’s Mailbox: Young also can have uterine cancer

Dear Annie: Please help make young women aware of uterine cancer. My 29-year-old daughter was diagnosed with stage-four uterine cancer last September. Some physicians think because you are young, you can’t have cancer. This is not true. My daughter’s symptoms were irregular bleeding and severe pelvic pain. The doctors kept prescribing birth control pills or hormones.

After several years, several physicians and several medications, she finally saw an ob/gyn at the University of Louisville who did a biopsy of her uterus – and then we received the devastating news. She was treated aggressively and is fighting every day to get better. She is such an inspiration. She had surgery several months ago, and they removed all the cancer in her abdominal cavity. But she still has it in two inoperable lymph nodes in her chest and is taking chemo.

If this story will help just one person or physician take that extra step, maybe another young woman won’t have to go through what my daughter has. P.S.: Since I started this letter, I have learned that my daughter’s cancer has spread again. I beg you to get the word out. – Louisville, Ky.

Dear Louisville: Our hearts our breaking for you. Uterine cancer (also known as endometrial cancer) is most common in women over 55 years old, so doctors don’t often consider this when they first see a younger patient with symptoms. But if you believe something is wrong, be persistent. Doctors aren’t infallible. Risk factors include endometrial overgrowth (hyperplasia), obesity, women who have never had children, periods beginning before age 12, menopause after age 55, estrogen therapy and a family history of the disease. Common signs are abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain with urination and sex, and pelvic pains. The National Cancer Institute (1-800-4-CANCER) offers a free booklet at cancer.gov.


 

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