Saturday, July 25, 2009

why stage 3 is rare

Hi Everyone
Well it is farmers market day here in Bandon, and I am shelling peas. There is a man at the market who sells peas for a dollar a bag, which seems pretty fair to me. Between his peas and the ones I eat from what remains of my pea garden, I am getting lots of peas. I have made the zucchini pea dish I posted a few blogs ago, 3 times this week and tonite I am taking my  overabundant basil, and making pesto with the peas, basil and spinach. I am sure turmuric will somehow make its way into the pesto, but don't tell Ken.
It is so great to have fresh veggies when you know exactly where they came from. I am growing lots of basil, tomatoes, peas, beets, and zucchinis. At least that is what is coming up...Oh and garlic.

Today I was asked why stage 3 and 4 of endometrial cancer are so rare. I thought I would explain here. Endometrial cancer is most often diagnosed in its earlier stages because most women seek medical care when they experience either post menopausal bleeding, or unusual bleeding.  Endometrial cancer is actually a common cancer, but only 15 percent are at stage 3 or 4 when diagnosed. Contrast this to ovarian cancer, which is often diagnosed late because there are often no symptoms, or the symptoms are vague. On average 25 thousand new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year and about 12 thousand women die of it.  Contrast that to endometrial cancer in which there are 40,000 new cases a year diagnosed and about 7000 who die from it.  Sadly enough though the incidence (number with the disease) has not changed in the past 20 years, the mortality rate has increased.  Hopefully that is going to change with more recent more aggressive treatments. Radiation has been the mainstay of treatment for stage 3 disease. I have read study after study where the only recurrences of the cancer was outside the radiation field. What this means is that if the pelvis was radiated only recurrences were found outside the pelvis. I guess it is easy to look back, but it is hard to know why they did not start using chemo and radiation together until recently.  There are very few studies to show these two treatments together, but the few that there are are very promising.
They are also starting to treat some of the lower stages more aggressively with chemo and radiation in certain situations.
I feel fortunate to have this cancer now, rather than 15 years ago. Chemo is more tolerable than it once was, and radiation...well I made it through and I am still expecting the wounds from radiation to heal.
SO the most important thing is to catch it early and seek medical attention.
The main symptoms of endometrial cancer are:
Vaginal bleeding and/or spotting in a postmenopausal woman
Abnormal uterine bleeding, abnormal periods, bleeding with intercourse.
Bleeding between normal periods in premenopausal women, and in women over 40 extremely long, heavy or frequent bleeding.
Unexplained anemia.
Lower abdominal pain or pelvic cramping
Thin white or clear vaginal discharge in postmenopausal women

So there you have it in a nutshell, and so all you have to do is make sure that everyone you know knows this. Its not like anyone really ever brings up issues about their periods at social gatherings. :).....but maybe they should.

love and peace
Oh and Ken and I are playing at Bullards Beach amphitheater on wednesday night July 29th at 7 pm, bring warm clothes.

Janet Bates
jankenb @

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