Bleeding After Menopause Could Be a Sign of Endometrial Cancer

December 24, 2018

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics analyzed 129 studies of more than 40,000 women in Europe, North America and Asia (34,432 with postmenopausal bleeding and 6,358 with endometrial cancer) conducted between 1977 and 2017.

IF YOU ARE POSTMENOPAUSAL and have vaginal bleeding, see a doctor.

That’s the gist of the findings from a recent study on the association between vaginal bleeding and endometrial cancer in women who have gone through menopause. The cancer develops in the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics analyzed 129 studies of more than 40,000 women in Europe, North America and Asia (34,432 with postmenopausal bleeding and 6,358 with endometrial cancer) conducted between 1977 and 2017.

The results, released in September, showed that 90 percent of the women who had endometrial cancer experienced postmenopausal bleeding before learning they had the disease. About 9 percent of women in menopause who saw doctors due to vaginal bleeding ultimately received a diagnosis of endometrial cancer.

Symptoms, such as bleeding, that might lead to early diagnosis can help save lives, because women who receive a diagnosis of early-stage endometrial cancer have a much better survival rate than those whose disease is diagnosed at a later stage.

“As the worldwide burden of endometrial cancer continues to rise, interest is growing in the evaluation of early detection and prevention strategies among women at increased risk,” the study’s authors noted.

It is already common practice to refer women for testing via ultrasound or biopsy to rule out endometrial cancer if they experience vaginal bleeding after menopause — the results confirm this standard.


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