Sharing Knowledge is Power
- Tracy Warrington from Swansea, Wales in the UK used her two decades of expertise as a nurse to pinpoint her subtle symptoms of endometrial cancer.
- The grandmother-of-one now wants to help alert others to these potential health clues as she recovers from surgery and treatment.
- Endometrial cancer is sometimes called “uterine cancer” and it’s a type of cancer that starts in the uterus. Treatments for this disease include surgery to remove the uterus, radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.
Tracy Warrington from Swansea, Wales in the UK used her two decades of expertise as a nurse to pinpoint her subtle symptoms of endometrial cancer. The grandmother-of-one now wants to help alert others to these potential health clues as she recovers from surgery and treatment.Read More
In her head, she recalled a colleague saying “if you ever get any bleeding after menopause do not ignore it.”
Once she experienced symptoms herself, Tracy used her network to get a quick consult from another nurse.
“I have a healthy lifestyle; I’m not overweight, I exercise, I eat healthily, I only drink small amounts, cancer doesn’t run in my family, so my only real risk factor was my age.”
Tracy’s Endometrial Cancer Diagnosis
In January, Tracy received her official diagnosis for endometrial cancer. The next six months, she waited for her surgery, which involved removing her cervix, uterus and ovaries, which is commonly referred to as a total hysterectomy.
Adjusting to a Hysterectomy
“The waiting was the hardest,” Tracy admitted. “For about two weeks I felt a bit sore, but no real pain. It didn’t really affect my day to day living much, I just couldn’t run for a bit and had to walk a bit slower.”
According to Tracy, the main symptoms to look out for this type of cancer are:
- postmenopausal bleeding
- bleeding between periods
- heavier postmenopausal periods
- unusual vaginal discharge not caused by menstruation
- difficult or painful urination
- pelvic pain
- pain during intercourse
After getting her through all of her diagnostic tests, doctors found that the lining of Tracy’s uterus was “quite thick,” some parts at 22mm when a common number is around 4mm.
“I gave birth to my two sons easily enough, and I never had any real issues with the menopause,” she said, still dumbfounded. “So it was a real shock to be diagnosed.”
Despite the hard road she has been on this year, Tracy is floored by all of the love and support she has gotten from her community.
“Everywhere I went I was treated so well and I’m very grateful to everyone who has helped me,” she expressed. “The people I work with have been fantastic. I had a flood of cards and presents and messages, not just friends and colleagues, but people I know contacted me from out of the blue to wish me well.”
Learning More About Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer is sometimes called “uterine cancer” and it’s a type of cancer that starts in the uterus. Treatments for this disease include surgery to remove the uterus, radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.
Endometrial cancer occurs when cancer cells develop in the lining of a person’s uterus. This year, approximately 66,570 people will be diagnosed with this type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
In an earlier interview, Stanford Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Diana English explains there are several conditions that may predispose someone to getting uterine cancer. “These patients might not be thinking about this, their primary care providers may not be speaking to them about this,” says Dr. English. Those conditions are:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (which is marked by the absence of regular periods)
- Hyperandrogenism (elevated male sex hormones)
- Lynch Syndrome
Primary care doctors aren’t perfect. Sometimes it takes multiple doctors before pinpointing a concrete diagnosis.
Luckily, we have women who have been through it, like Tracy, sharing their stories to file in our heads should we ever need the information. Unusual vaginal bleeding alone is reason enough to get in and see what’s going on. Staying ahead of your diagnosis makes the best prognosis!