Cancer of the Uterus
(Uterine Cancer or Endometrial Cancer)

Uterine cancer facts

*Uterine cancer facts medical author: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

  • The uterus is a hollow organ in females located in the pelvis, commonly called the womb. The uterus functions to support fetal development until birth. The uterus is shaped like an upside down pear; the top is the fundus, the middle is the corpus, and bottom is the cervix.
  • Uterine cancer is the abnormal (malignant) growth of any cells that comprise uterine tissue.
  • Although the exact causes of uterine cancers are not known, risk factors include women with endometrial overgrowth (hyperplasia), obesity, women who have never had children, menses beginning before age 12, menopause after age 55, estrogen therapy, taking tamoxifen, radiation to the pelvis, family history of uterine cancer, and Lynch syndrome (most commonly seen as a form of inherited colorectal cancer).
  • Common signs and symptoms of uterine cancer are abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain with urination and sex, and pelvic pains.
  • Uterine cancer is diagnosed usually with a pelvic exam, ultrasound, and biopsy.
  • Uterine cancer stages (0 to IV) are determined by biopsy, chest X-ray, and/or CT or MRI scans.
  • Treatment options may include one or more of the following: surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. Treatment depends on the cancer stage with stage IV as the most extensive and usually caused by the most aggressive type of cancer cells.
  • Surgical therapy usually involves removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, adjacent lymph nodes, and part of the vagina.
  • Radiation therapy may be by external radiation or by internal radiation (brachytherapy).
  • Chemotherapy usually requires IV administration of drugs designed to kill cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy (usually progesterone) is used on cancer cells that require another hormone (estrogen) for growth.
  • Second opinions can be obtained by referrals made by your doctor to others in the local medical society, or to other doctors elsewhere.
  • Follow-up care is important. Complications can be treated early and possible cancer recurrence can be diagnosed early.
  • Support groups are varied and many are local. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) can help locate support groups and possible clinical trials.

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Uterine Cancer - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your uterine cancer?
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Uterine Cancer - Diagnosis Question: What tests or exams led to a diagnosis of uterine cancer?
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Read about risk factors, symptoms, and signs of uterine cancer (endometrial cancer).

Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial Cancer Symptoms and Risk Factors

Endometrial cancer (uterine cancer) is the most common gynecologic cancer that occurs in the United States; and arises from abnormal cells that develop within the inside lining of the uterus. It occurs most often after menopause, but may also be diagnosed before menopause.