Uterine Cancer (Endometrial Cancer): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

The term uterine cancer typically refers to cancers that begin in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). These are known as endometrial cancers or endometrial carcinomas. Cancers can also form in the muscular wall of the uterus (sarcomas of the uterus), but these are rare. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of uterine cancer. This includes vaginal bleeding after menopause, which is never normal and should always be investigated to find the cause. Vaginal discharge and pelvic pain are other possible symptoms and signs. It is also possible to have early stage uterine cancer that does not cause any noticeable signs or symptoms.

Causes of uterine cancer (endometrial cancer)

The exact cause of uterine cancer is not well understood. It is known that certain conditions or risk factors can increase the risk of getting endometrial cancer. These include obesity, metabolic syndrome, estrogen hormone therapy (without taking progesterone therapy at the same time), polycystic ovary syndrome, never giving birth, early menstruation, late menopause, a family history of uterine cancer, or having a condition called endometrial hyperplasia, in which the lining tissue of the uterus is abnormally thick.

Other uterine (endometrial) cancer symptoms and signs

  • Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
  • Bleeding Between Periods
  • Heavy Vaginal Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation
  • Irregular Menstruation
  • Pain During Sex
  • Painful Urination
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Vaginal Bleeding After Menopause
  • Vaginal Discharge


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.