Benjamin C. Wedro, MD, FAAEM, FACEP
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
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.
The uterus is made up of two major structures, the myometrium (myo=muscle + metrium=womb) and the endometrium, the inside lining of the uterus (endo=inner + metrium=womb) where a fertilized egg implants to form the fetus.
Risk factors for developing endometrial cancer including the following:
- Endometrial hyperplasia: excess numbers of cells within the endometrium.
- Age: This cancer is usually found in women older than the age of 50.
- Excess estrogen: Hormone therapy is one potential cause, as is
since estrogen is produced in the fatty tissue of the body.
- Ethnicity: Caucasian women are at higher risk of endometrial
- Tamoxifen (Nolvadex): Nolvadex is one of the medications used to treat breast cancer.
- Any bleeding after menopause is abnormal and should not be ignored. The
bleeding may begin as a white or watery discharge that is streaked with blood
and then progress a completely bloody discharge.
- Excess menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
- Irregular periods, more frequent periods or bleeding between periods
- Lower abdominal pain, pelvic pain, or pain with intercourse are symptoms of uterus irritation and should not be ignored.
As with many cancers, weight loss can be the initial symptom.
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