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Health Warning: Post Menopausal Bleeding: March 27, 2011

As researchers continue to unravel clues in the fight against uterine cancer, the body is sending some of its own alarm signals and post menopausal women especially need to take note. "Any woman who has post menopausal bleeding should seek medical attention."

Dr. James Orr, a gynecologic oncologist on the Lee Memorial Health System medical staff, warns this could stem from a problem in the uterus. "Uterine cancer, sometimes called endometrial cancer, basically the same disease is a malignancy that involves the lining of the uterus. Typically these women are older and almost all of them have some biologic sign and that is abnormal bleeding."

During evaluation, the lining of the uterus is examined. "What we know is that if a woman has a thicker lining versus a woman who has a thinner lining the prior woman has a higher risk of having uterine cancer," says Dr. Orr. "Any woman with a thickened lining can easily have an endometrial biopsy performed in the office."

The results will then determine the course of treatment. "Is the treatment radiation therapy? Is the treatment external therapy? Is it internal therapy? Is it chemotherapy combined with those things? Or chemotherapy alone? Regardless, even if women have disease outside the uterus at the time of their diagnosis, 80 percent of them are cured with the appropriate treatment." It's important to note that uterine cancer survival rates are better than ever because post-menopausal bleeding is one of the warning signs. Pelvic pain and pain during intercourse have also been associated with this cancer as well.