Actor and director Meagan Good was visiting her gynecologist for a routine checkup when they discovered an abnormality in her uterus. After testing determined the tissue could potentially become cancerous, it was removed.
“It was a really scary experience cause the first thing I thought was one minute everything’s fine and the next minute everything could be flipped on its head, [and] what if I wasn’t regularly coming in to meet with my gynecologist and what if I wasn’t proactive instead of reactive; where would I be now?” Good told Infostride
While she had heard of uterine cancer, she didn’t put much thought into it until then.
“Of course, in every scenario, you never think anything’s going to be your story and by the grace of God it hasn’t become my story…part of that depends on me doing my part to take care of myself, to make sure that I get appointments, to make sure that I ask questions,” she said.
Uterine cancer is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer for women in the United States.
In 2021, uterine cancer resulted in an estimated 66,570 new cases and 12,940 deaths—and these rates are on the rise, according to the National Cancer InstituteTrusted Source.
Good wants to help raise awareness about the risks of uterine cancer and endometrial cancer, which is found in the lining of the uterus and accounts for 90 percent of uterine cancer diagnoses.
“[Many] women don’t have the statistics and don’t have this education and so I want to be a part of making sure [they] get that,” she said. Helping women spot endometrial cancer
Good teamed up with the Spot Her campaign to help raise awareness about endometrial cancer. The initiative aims to empower people across generations and cultures to spot the potential signs early
Symptoms of endometrial cancer include:
spotting or brownish discharge after menopause
irregular or heavy bleeding between menstrual periods
pelvic pain or pressure
losing weight without trying
“The signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer may be vague and similar to other conditions,” Dr. Ginger J. Gardner, chair of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, and vice-chair of the department of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told Healthline.
While Pap test procedures check for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer, they do not reliably screen for endometrial cancer. That’s why Gardner said it’s important to know the symptoms of endometrial cancer.
“Knowing and talking about these gynecologic health symptoms with friends, family, and particularly with your healthcare provider can help overcome the stigma around this topic and allow more people to spot what could be endometrial cancer earlier, when it may be more treatable,” she said.
Dr. Elena Pereira, OB/GYN oncologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said women should also know that there is a direct correlation between the more common form of endometrial cancer, endometrioid-type, and obesity.
“These cancers are driven by the estrogen hormone, which is present at higher levels secondary to obesity. Obesity also causes an increased inflammatory state, which increases the risk of many other types of cancer,” Pereira told Healthline. “Obesity should be considered one of the most important, preventable causes of endometrial cancer.”
Other factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing endometrial cancer include:
Age (risk increases with age)
Lack of exercise
Type 2 diabetes
History of irregular periods, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or a hereditary cancer syndrome such as Lynch syndrome
Family history of uterine cancer
“While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent endometrial cancer, there are things you can do that may help lower your risk of developing this disease such as maintaining a healthy weight, diet, and exercise, working with your doctor to receive proper treatment of pre-cancerous cells of the endometrium if they develop, and genetic testing if appropriate,” said Gardner.
Spreading awareness like this is exactly why Good joined Spot Her. She said it allows her to give back.
“[Here’s] an opportunity to be our sister’s keeper and our own keepers, and to bring awareness and to get the education, to know what questions we should be asking our doctors, to take care of our bodies,” she said.
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