Uterine Cancer - Describe Your Experience

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What is uterine cancer (endometrial cancer)?

Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up tissues. Tissues make up the uterus and the other organs of the body.

Normal cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn't need them, and old or damaged cells don't die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.

Tumors in the uterus can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors are not as harmful as malignant tumors:

  • Benign tumors (such as a fibroid, a polyp, or endometriosis):
    • are usually not a threat to life
    • can be treated or removed and usually don't grow back
    • don't invade the tissues around them
    • don't spread to other parts of the body
  • Malignant growths:
    • may be a threat to life
    • usually can be removed but can grow back
    • can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs (such as the vagina)
    • can spread to other parts of the body

Cancer cells can spread by breaking away from the uterine tumor. They can travel through lymph vessels to nearby lymph nodes. Also, cancer cells can spread through the blood vessels to the lung, liver, bone, or brain. The process of spreading is called metastasis. By metastasizing, cancer cells may invade and attach to other tissues and grow to form new tumors that may damage those tissues. See the Staging section for information about uterine cancer that has spread.

Female Illustration - Cancer of the Uterus (Uterine Cancer)
Picture of the uterus
Return to Uterine Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: mary, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 23

I am a 49 years old woman with a diagnosed uterus cancer grade 1, 2 days ago and my doctor said I should have total hysterectomy the next week and after that according to pathology he will decide about other treatment. My older sister had the same problem 5 years ago and was treated with surgery and radiotherapy and every 6 months she is checked for reoccurring but she has not any sign. I am worried now and I can't do anything but I try to be positive and change my diet (more vegetarian) and exercise.

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Comment from: Cathy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 27

I had spotting in July, Pap test was inconclusive and told not to worry. I wouldn't take inconclusive as a diagnosis. Months went by with two other tests that were inconclusive and still told not to worry. I went for D&C and endometrial cancer was found. I went to an oncologist for second opinion and had surgery in December. Prognosis is excellent. Never accept "don't worry as a diagnosis!" We have to be our own advocate regarding our healthcare and ask questions. We know when something is "just not right".

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