Hysterectomy to diagnose endometrial cancer – Cynthia’s Story

I am 50 and had an endometrial ablation 4 years ago for very heavy periods. The specialist removed some uterine polyps at the same time but left a fibroid. The polyps were benign. The ablation stopped all bleeding with my periods so I only knew I was menopausal when I started getting hot flushes 18 months ago and had my hormone levels tested. I started on HRT about 4 months after that (combined estrogen and progesterone).

I spotted several weeks ago and went to the Dr even though it was very minor spotting. He did a pelvic exam and took a smear test. Both were fine. He sent me for an ultrasound which found a thickened endometrium and fluid in the endometrial cavity. He then referred me to a gynecologist who said a hysterectomy is the only way to rule out endometrial cancer as the scarring caused by an ablation can mask cancer. He assessed my risk level as 5% which is twice the average for women in NZ.

I am getting a second opinion next week but the literature I’ve read is consistent with his advice. I have no other symptoms and feel very well. The spotting has occurred a few times since I first spotted but lasts only a a day or so and is very light (hard to see even on a panty liner) and I have no pain, problems with urination etc. I do not recall understanding the risk of failure to diagnose cancer when I was considering the ablation.

However I am a lawyer and expect it would have been mentioned to me and must have been in the fine print at least of the written material I was provided. I understand now that I would have been at very low risk of endometrial cancer (risk is higher now because I’m possibly post-menopausal but we can’t be sure if my periods have stopped for over a year as there has been no bleeding since the ablation) at that time so am unsure whether in hindsight I would have made a different decision. I am prepared to have a hysterectomy if that’s what the second opinion recommends and I would be surprised if it didn’t. My GP also thinks I should have it done. I would be keen to know if other women have been in this situation and if cancer was found when the uterus was removed.


in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

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