Exposure to PFOA induces endometrial cancer cell migration and invasion in firefighters who use AFFF
A study from the medical journal Oncotarget found that PFOA, one of the chemicals with the strongest cancer association, promotes endometrial cancer cell migration and invasion by activating the signaling of:
- ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase): a protein that plays a significant role in cellular processes such as proliferation, migration, differentiation, and survival
- mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin): a protein controlling several cell functions, such as division and survival
To examine the role of PFOA during human endometrial carcinogenesis, researchers treated specific cells with a low concentration of this chemical. PFOA greatly stimulated the invasion of the cells, which was subsequently confirmed by measuring the optical density of the invaded cells. These results suggest that PFOA treatment promotes both the migration and invasion of endometrial cancer cells. Furthermore, the study discovered that PFOA treatment might stimulate EMT in endometrial cancer cells. Consequently, PFOA functions as a carcinogen that promotes endometrial cancer.
Being aware of the symptoms of endometrial cancer is vital if you are a female firefighter, as the sooner the disease is found, the better your prognosis will be and the more effective treatment will be. These are some of the signs of endometrial cancer you should seek medical attention for immediately if you experience:
- painful or difficult urination
- bleeding or discharge unrelated to periods
- pain during intercourse
- a mass or pain in the pelvic area
- postmenopausal bleeding
- unintentional weight loss
Over 90% of women with endometrial cancer have abnormal vaginal bleeding, so this is perhaps the main symptom that should be a cause for concern if you suspect you have this disease. Unfortunately, many women with endometrial cancer receive a wrong diagnosis upon their first medical appointment, which is why we strongly encourage you to seek a second and even third opinion from different specialists. The misdiagnosis rate is high among people with a history of toxic exposure, including firefighters who used AFFF.
The diseases and conditions endometrial cancer might be mistaken for in female firefighters
A whopping 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed every year, which speaks volumes about how challenging assigning the correct diagnosis is in some cases. There are countless diseases and conditions whose symptoms mimic those of others, which is why, sometimes, even medical specialists with vast knowledge and plenty of experience fail to identify what is truly wrong with their patients' health.
When it comes to toxic exposure, there are few medical professionals who are up to date with the latest news and research about it, which is why firefighters exposed to AFFF are at high risk of misdiagnosis. Endometrial cancer might be misdiagnosed as the following:
- endometrial hyperplasia
- cervical polyps
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- endometrial polyps
- cervical cancer
- various STDs
- Von Willebrand's disease
Having the right diagnosis is essential both from a medical and legal point of view. If you receive treatment for the wrong disease, it will not be effective, and it may even cause more harm, and if you have any of the above as a diagnosis and not endometrial cancer, you will not qualify for filing a claim for AFFF exposure.
Therefore, it is vital to visit multiple specialists, as only this way can you ensure you have a correct diagnosis. If you have endometrial cancer and have worked with AFFF, do not hesitate to contact our law firm, as we specialize in toxic exposure and have assisted hundreds of firefighters whose health was compromised by the PFAS in this fire suppressant.