Many uterine cancer patients want to know how fast this disease grows, and many women who fear they might have it also want to know its growth rate.
So just how fast can uterine cancer grow?
“That’s difficult to answer because that depends on so many factors,” says Mylaine Riobe, MD, founder of Riobe Institute of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Riobe, who’s board certified in ob/gyn and integrative medicine, is the author of “The Answer to Cancer.”
The Riobe Method focuses on the prevention of diseases, not the prevention of death from diseases.
“Typically, uterine cancer is diagnosed quite early because it causes obvious symptoms early on in the disease process,” continues Dr. Riobe.
“Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge are some of the early signs of uterine cancer.
“If caught early, a relatively simple surgical procedure is usually curative: total hysterectomy, removal of both ovaries and Fallopian tubes, as well as local lymph nodes.
“There are less common, more aggressive forms of uterine cancer that have very poor prognoses because they grow quite rapidly.”
Growth Rate of a Malignant Tumor Is Exponential
“In general, cancer of any sort is believed to take about 10 years to go from one malignant cell to a detectable mass or a clinical diagnosis,” says Dr. Kimberly Langdon, MD, OBGYN, medical advisor at Medzino Health.
A cancerous tumor, including uterine or endometrial, will start growing exponentially depending on its stage of development.
A cluster of malignant cells takes 60 days (aggressive tumors) to 100 days (non-aggressive) to double in size or increase by 100%.
There are theories surrounding what influences the growth rate of a cancer.
For example, even though the growth rate may be exponential, one theory suggests that after a certain point, the rate of doubling slows down — because the blood vessels that feed the tumor become less efficient at supporting a growing mass.
To make all of this easier to understand, here’s a classic example of exponential growth that explodes after a certain point: MONEY.
If you double a penny every day for 30 days, how much will you have on the 30th day?
Answer: $5,368,709.12. But it takes eight days just to get to one dollar!
If a uterine cancer cell doubles every 100 days, you’ll definitely have this disease for years before the first symptoms.
It would take 800 days to grow to 100 cells — far too small for detection, let alone symptoms.
But after 2,200 days (six years) there would be 1,638,400 cancer cells in the tumor
BUT — after only another 600 days (1.6 years) — there’d be 104,857,600 cells!
A malignant tumor of one centimeter has about 100 million cells.
The takeaway is this: Uterine and other cancers start out slowly increasing in size, even though the doubling rate occurs at fairly fixed intervals.
Past a certain point, however, the increase in size becomes exponential.
At some point after that (usually when the cancer has already spread), the growth rate of the primary or original tumor slows down.
“Cancer in general takes hold in a person who is nutritionally weak and therefore has a weak immune system and detoxification system,” says Dr. Riobe.
“The weaker the immune system, the faster the cancer can grow and spread.
“We see examples of this in HIV patients and smokers — uterine cancer is seen to be much more aggressive in these patients because of the weakness of the immune system.”
Uterine Cancer Symptoms Can Be Delayed in Obese Women
“Uterine cancer has a very good chance of being diagnosed early because it often presents with spotting or bleeding, although in obese women, there may be excess growth with no bleeding for a long time,” explains Dr. Langdon.
“Of all the gynecologic cancers, it’s one of the best ones to have.
“Any premenopausal woman who is obese and goes without a menses for more than six months should see a gynecologist to see how thick the uterine lining is.
“Any postmenopausal women who starts to bleed after a year of not bleeding should also seek medical care.”
• Difficult or painful urination
• Pain when having intercourse
• Pelvic pain
• Weight loss for no reason
• “Extra long” periods
Dr. Riobe has helped thousands of patients overcome difficult illnesses by addressing root causes, not just masking symptoms. She has over 15 years’ experience using integrative techniques to treat diverse patients.
Dr. Langdon, who is now retired from clinical practice, has delivered over 2,000 babies. Besides obstetrics, she specialized in gynecologic situations such as menstrual disorders, vaginitis, menopause, contraception, pelvic pain and minimally-invasive surgeries.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.