FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – This year an estimated 66,000 people will be diagnosed with uterine or endometrial cancer, making it the fourth most common cancer among women.
For years, Patricia Ojeda has flown to her native Argentina for her annual physical exams, but last year, COVID kept her from making the trip
“At the beginning of this year I started to feel really bad, I started bleeding and my doctor in Argentina said don’t even think about traveling, go to the emergency right now,” she said.
The bleeding was a warning sign of uterine cancer and in Ojeda’s case, it was particularly aggressive.
“She also had a big vaginal canal mass which we removed with turned out to be metastatic cancer as well so it was very advanced at the time we operated on her,” said Dr. Scott Jordan, with Broward Health Medical Center.
Along with unusual bleeding or spotting, especially after menopause, warning signs of endometrial and uterine cancer also include pelvic or abdominal pain, weight loss without trying, and difficulty or pain when urinating.
“These can be normal things that for a day or two are easy to brush off but if they’re prolonged you should talk to your doctor about,” Jordan said.
Two weeks after surgery to remove Ojeda’s cancer it came back with vengeance.
“And I ask him is this curable he said it’s not curable but it’s remissible,” she said.
“Fortunately right now it’s responded really well to the first-line chemotherapy that we’ve been giving her,” Jordan added.
Ojeda believes maintaining a positive attitude throughout her treatment is helping her battle back against the disease.
“I know I have a very aggressive cancer but I don’t give it too much energy and I also learned from a friend, everyone has an expiration date. Maybe it’s not mine,” she said with a smile.
The number of women diagnosed with uterine cancer has increased by about 1% each year since the mid-2000′s which may be due to an aging population.
Uterine cancer is more common in post-menopausal women.
A diet high in animal fat and obesity can also increase the risk of uterine cancer