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questions about discharge

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2011

After my dx of stage 2 breast cancer in 2005 and treatment with chemo and rads, I took tamoxifen for 3 years. I then took evista for the remaining 2 years. I am now 58 yrs old and experiencing post menopausal bleeding. I have had this for almost a year. My gyn suggested it was vaginal atrophy, but on doing an internal last Jan, he said it was indeed a discharge. It is very thin and watery, but sometimes it is more like mucous. My vagina is much more lubricated as well. He thought we should do a biopsy, but I put it off due to fear of pain. Since October, it has become so much more profuse--my underwear are often very damp with a pink or brownish discharge that I can feel being discharged.

I just had another transvaginal done last week. The tech told me it measured 7mm, but I got the results today of only 4mm. A year ago it was 5, and in January it had gone down to 2mm, so it has grown, but still I guess nothing remarkable?

I will push for a D & C, but can anyone offer other reasons for this discharge? If my endometrial stripe measures 4mm, then it couldn't be endo cancer, right? I also need to add that my maternal grandmother died of uterine cancer in her early 40's and that I have 1 maternal aunt who died from uterine cancer in her early 50's and another maternal aunt who survived both lung and bowel cancer.

I see my gyn in mid-December, but I'm just concerned. He did say last year that it couldn't be uterine cancer with a normal stripe, but that the discharge should still be investigated. That was last year, and I was just tired of so many tests if indeed it couldn't be cancer. Now I'm worried. Any advice would be welcome! Oh, and my uterus measured 8.3 x 3.1 x 4.7 cm. Thanks.

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

Welcome! Sorry you're here, but happy to help in any way.

I was pre-menopausal and had some pinkish/brownish discharge for approx 6 months....assuming due to pre-menopause and no "full-blown" periods. Knowing I had yearly exam forthcoming with OB I put off getting it checked out sooner (not good on my part). When I saw him, he told me lets do a vaginal ultrasound, as wasn't sure and didn't want to guess. That confirmed thickening of the uterus, then had D&C which showed a fibroid cyst, confirmed thru pathology it was uterine cancer.

When you're giving measurements is this a tumor? Sorry but not understanding your post. I know my small tumors were approx 1cm.

Really without anything going thru pathology they don't know if it's cancer. I'd truly push to get the tests over and done. You're at the moment unsure and testing isn't fun, but only way to find what's going on. Could be nothing, too.

Luckily my docs were pro-active and didn't have me wait....got me thru testing right away. Work on this with you doc and don't stop until have an answer. Sure don't want to go on another year with the spotting.

Best to you,

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks, Jan, for your reply and telling me about your experience. I am definitely post menopausal and I've had no period since the chemo6 years ago. No, those numbers are the measurement of my uterus and were on my vaginal ultrasound report. I think they are normal. So, is it possible to have uterine cancer without a thickened lining? Wouldn't the ultrasound also have also shown your cyst?
I do plan on getting the testing now, but it will probably not be until January.
Thanks again.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2791
Joined: Jun 2010

but what we know for sure is your spotting/discharge is NOT normal for 58 year old postmenopausal woman. Period. Plus, you've had breast cancer. Once you've had cancer, I find they take any little old thing more seriously and your symptoms should be taken seriously. When I had both endometrial and breast cancers, I was told it is not unusual for a woman to have both cancers over the course of her lifetime. There are many women on this and the breast cancer boards who have had both.

Mid December is right around the corner. I hope this is not related to anything cancerish (new word), but the only way to know for sure is to look at the tissue. If you're not satisfied with your visit, please get a second opinion or ask for referral to a gynecologic oncologist.

Good luck and please keep us posted.


jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I shall agree with Suzanne...get the testing done now....why wait. When you've once been diagnosed with cancer and have abnormal issues going on as you do, I'd jump in and get tests NOW. Cancer is scary as you know, and any longer waiting can possibly make the situation worse.

You've asked me some good questions, but can't give you answers as not encountered those things. Seems like doc would be best bet to answer.

Good luck!

Cindy Bear
Posts: 570
Joined: Jul 2009

I would definitely follow up with this. Any discharge or bleeding after menopause warrants being checked out. By the way, I had an end. biopsy some years ago (long before my mother was diag. with cancer) It's nothing.. it pinches for a minute or so and then it's over. They don't sedate you or anything and they just recommend you take a couple of Advil an hour or two before the procedure. I did have bad cramps the rest of the afternoon, so hopefully you'll do it on a day when you don't have to work or have other plans. Just go home and rest. It may not be cancer, and it probably isn't but you need to know 100% for sure. Good luck.

TiggersDoBounce's picture
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Agreeing with the others...awaiting your follow up results.

Not sure about the strip comment...I have never heard about that..


Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2011

I will press for a D&C when I see my gyn on 12/12. While I've had 4 children, they were all c-sections, and I'm afraid the biopsy would hurt. But if he won't do it, I'll go ahead with the biopsy.

I've been researching all around if it's possible to have endometrial cancer with an endometrial stipe of 5mm or less. Unfortunately, it is. One of the studies I found was also reported by Linda on this board! I really appreciate this board and all the research you people have done. I've included a portion of Linda's post:
"Although an EEC less than 5 mm may be reassuring, it does not rule out endometrial cancer and cannot supplant definitive histologic evaluation," Dr. Uma Chandavarkar said at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.

A total of 40% of the 250 women had an EEC less than 5 mm in the study, regardless of histology type, said Dr. Chandavarkar, a fellow in gynecologic oncology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Interestingly, a greater percentage of patients with the more-aggressive type II endometrial cancers had an endometrial stripe less than 5 mm, 46% of 162 women, compared with 29% of 88 patients with type I disease. This was a statistically significant difference.
"Transvaginal ultrasound cannot replace definitive histologic evaluation," Dr. Chandavarkar said. "We recommend these patients are counseled that endometrial cancer may be missed without a biopsy.

So, thanks again for all the support. I can't say I'm not scared since I did use tamoxifen and I have had this strange discharge for a while. Yet, there have been so many scares since I was first dx years ago, and most of them proved to nothing, so I'm trying to just relax.

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