For the first time in Israel and in the world, Endometrial Cancer Awareness Week is currently being marked. A survey conducted by the voluntary organization that fights gynecological cancer, Bar’s Home, shows that over 76% of women were unaware of the symptoms that may signal endometrial cancer and only a quarter of women had ever heard of the disease.
The endometrium is the inner epithelial layer, along with its mucous membrane, of the mammalian uterus. It has a basal layer and a functional layer: the basal layer contains stem cells which regenerate the functional layer. The functional layer thickens and then is shed during menstruation.
Having metabolic syndrome (diabetes type 2) and being obese can raise the risk of this type of malignancy, as can taking tamoxifen for breast cancer or estrogen alone (without progesterone) can increase the risk of this type of cancer.
The organization declared that gynecological cancers like those of the endometrium has not been on the agenda and in the budget prioritization of the health basket committee over the years. In the last decade, the state’s investment in preventing and treating gynecological cancer was the lowest and amounted to less than NIS 44 million.
“Knowledge and awareness are very significant in relation to the treatment of endometrial cancer, because with early detection, the cure rate for this cancer is over 90%. The inclusion in the basket of drugs and technologies for gynecological cancer patients has been neglected constantly by the healthcare system,” will continue to fight for them and for their well-being,” said Bar Levy, head of Bar’s Home, which was founded in 2022 with the aim of being a home for all women who are dealing with and recovering from gynecological cancer and their families.
Endometrial cancer has gone unnoticed
The association works to promote women’s health by putting the issue on the Israeli agenda, making information accessible for prevention and early detection and improving the treatment experience.
According to the data of the National Cancer Registry, endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological cancer in Israel among women. In 2019, 813 women were diagnosed with it.
The most common symptoms are vaginal bleeding between periods, strong bleeding during menstruation, pain during urination and pelvic pain. Women aged 45 to 65 were the most aware of the disease, but even so, fewer than 30% in this age group knew about it.
The vast majority of women polled said if they had been aware of the symptoms, they would have gone to a gynecologist for an examination and would tell a person close to them about their symptoms.
Some 3,000 Israeli women are diagnosed with gynecological cancer each year, but compared to breast, lung, skin and gastrointestinal cancers, the least amount of money has been added to the health basket for gynecological cancer.