Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer
Is this topic for you?
This topic provides information about cancer of the lining of the uterus (Reference endometrium Opens New Window). It does not cover cancer in the muscle of the uterus, which is called uterine sarcoma. This topic focuses on type I endometrial cancer, which is the most common kind of uterine cancer.
What is endometrial cancer?
Endometrial cancer is the growth of Reference abnormal cells in the lining of the uterus Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. The lining is called the endometrium. Endometrial cancer is also called cancer of the uterus, or uterine cancer.
Endometrial cancer usually occurs in women older than 50. The good news is that it is usually cured when it is found early. And most of the time, the cancer is found in its earliest stage, before it has spread outside the uterus.
What causes endometrial cancer?
The most common cause of type I endometrial cancer is having too much of the hormone Reference estrogen Opens New Window compared to the hormone Reference progesterone Opens New Window in the body. This hormone imbalance causes the lining of the uterus to get thicker and thicker. If the lining builds up and stays that way, then cancer cells can start to grow.
Women who have this hormone imbalance over time may be more likely to get endometrial cancer after age 50.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms include:
- Bleeding or vaginal discharge not related to your period (menstruation).
- Pain during sex.
- Pelvic pain.
How is endometrial cancer diagnosed?
Endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed with a Reference biopsy Opens New Window. In this test, the doctor removes a small sample of the lining of the uterus to look for cancer cells.
How is it treated?
Endometrial cancer in its early stages can be cured. The main treatment is surgery to remove the uterus plus the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. This is called a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The doctor may also remove pelvic and aortic Reference lymph nodes Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window to see if the cancer has spread.
Finding out that you have cancer can change your life. You may feel like your world has turned upside down and you have lost all control. Talking with family, friends, or a counselor can really help. Ask your doctor about support groups. Or call the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) or visit its website at www.cancer.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learning about endometrial cancer:
Living with endometrial cancer:
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Ross Berkowitz, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology