When it comes to women’s health, many issues aren’t discussed enough, if at all. One condition that needs more attention and awareness is endometrial cancer (EC). Many women with EC report that the symptoms of the disease are often stigmatized or dismissed. Unfortunately, the silence around diseases like EC could potentially lead to a lack of awareness and negative health outcomes.
EC is the most common type of uterine cancer. It’s also one of the few cancers where diagnoses and deaths are on the rise. According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that there will be over 66,000 new cases of uterine cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2023 alone, accounting for over 13,000 deaths. It’s important for people to learn more about this disease so they can spot the potential signs at an early stage and take action.
Early detection can help save lives
EC may be more treatable when detected at an early stage. If diagnosed when the cancer is local and has not spread from the uterus, a patient’s five-year survival rate is 96%. Early detection and treatment is particularly important for communities of color, many of whom already experience health disparities. Black women are nearly twice as likely to die of EC compared to white women and are more often diagnosed at a later stage.
Risk factors and signs of EC
It is important that women and all people with a uterus are aware of the factors that may increase their risk of developing EC, which include but are not limited to obesity, age, family history of uterine cancer, high-fat diet and lack of exercise, conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or a hereditary cancer syndrome such as Lynch syndrome. Knowing the signs of EC can also empower women to advocate for their health and help catch EC at an early stage. Look out for these common signs:
- Abnormal bleeding
- Spotting or brownish discharge after menopause
- Irregular or heavy bleeding before menopause
- Pelvic area pain or pressure.
“Prior to my diagnosis, I experienced symptoms like abnormal bleeding and intense cramps that were so painful, I knew I needed to see my doctor,” said Shawn Smith, an EC survivor. “I’m now sharing my story because I want other women to be able to spot the signs of EC and speak up for themselves and the women in their lives.”
Engaging in open conversations with your doctor can make a big difference. It’s vital for all women — especially Black women — to speak to a doctor if they experience any potential symptoms of concern.
End the silence and raise awareness
SHARE Cancer Support, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), Black Health Matters, Endometrial Cancer Action Network for African-Americans (ECANA), The Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC), and Eisai Inc. came together to launch Spot Her® to help end the silence around EC by educating the public about the signs and symptoms of the disease.
If you want to help raise awareness and show your support for women living with EC, join the conversation on social media by tagging your posts with #SpotHerforEC. For every post shared using #SpotHerforEC, Eisai will donate one dollar (up to $20,000) between SHARE, FORCE and ECANA to support women living with EC.
Know the signs, spot them early, and help save lives. For more information and resources on EC, visit SpotHerforEC.com.