“I was on my IVF journey when a scan found abnormal cancer cells in my uterus”

A special needs teacher has revealed that she accidentally discovered she had cancer cells in her womb just through her IVF journey in hopes of starting a family.

Amsin Quinn, 43, from Balbriggan, Co Dublin, was hoping to conceive in 2016 and was being checked at Sims Clinic.

Abnormal cells that could potentially develop into endometrial cancer were found by the IVF facility.

“I didn’t conform to the usual risks or signs of this cancer. I wasn’t menopausal or older. I wasn’t overweight and I wasn’t bleeding,” she said.

Although the abnormal cells weren’t cancerous, she underwent treatment, including the insertion of a Mirena coil, which releases a small amount of the hormone progesterone and can stop the lining of the uterus from thickening.

She said she was previously diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and had some discharge, but doctors weren’t sure about a link between these and the pre-cancerous cells.

Ms Quinn is highlighting her experience to raise awareness for World GO Day, which aims to raise awareness of gynecological cancers. More than 1,400 gynecological cancers are diagnosed each year in Ireland, including 540 uterine cancers, of which the lining of the uterus is the most common.

Treatment for the abnormal cells was successful, but Ms Quinn had to have D&C procedures twice a year to remove tissue from her uterus.

“We did a total of six rounds of IVF. In the meantime, I’ve completed a degree in adult education,” she says.

However, it did not result in a coveted child for Ms. Quinn and her husband Karl.

“We didn’t have any kids, but we do have a puppy, Jasper,” she said.

After several years of D&C procedures and “constant worries,” she decided to have a hysterectomy earlier this year.

“The doctor said from day one that this was the final. I feel so much better now.”

Her message to other women is to get regular checkups, don’t be ashamed, talk to your doctor, be aware of the symptoms, but also that not everyone fits the classic pattern of these diseases.

New research to mark Awareness Day, sponsored by the Irish Network for Gynecological Oncology, shows one in four women are unaware of womb cancer.

Three in five cannot name any symptoms and three in ten do not see a link between a healthy weight and risk reduction.

Risk factors include age and genetics — where it can occur in families where colon cancer is hereditary or a history of Lynch syndrome.

Symptoms may include bleeding or spotting, changes in vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, or back pain.

Meanwhile, Professor Helen Heneghan, a bariatric surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin and UCD Professor of Surgery, said the research she is leading is showing positive results for women who have endometrial cancer, precancerous lesions or are at risk for the disease, but possibly be unsuitable for a hysterectomy due to obesity.

“We underwent bariatric surgery or drug treatment and found that 80 percent of the tumors had regressed. They were essentially gone. Any of the weight loss surgeries could have that effect.”

Obesity is associated with a higher risk of endometrial cancer.

She said bariatric surgery can also be beneficial for women who don’t want a hysterectomy and haven’t completed their families.

“The cancer is now more common in younger women because of the obesity crisis,” said Prof Heneghan, who is working on the research with Mater’s obstetrician Donal Brennan.

https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/i-was-on-my-ivf-journey-when-a-scan-found-abnormal-pre-cancer-cells-in-my-womb-42002642.html “I was on my IVF journey when a scan found abnormal cancer cells in my uterus”

Fry Electronics Team

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