Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer - Topic Overview
This topic provides
information about cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
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.
Endometrial cancer is the
growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the uterus . The lining is called the
endometrium. Endometrial cancer is also called cancer of the uterus, or uterine
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.
The most common
cause of type I endometrial cancer is having too much of the hormone
estrogen compared to the hormone
progesterone 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.
The most common symptoms include:
- Bleeding or vaginal discharge not related to your period (menstruation).
- Pain during sex.
- Pelvic pain.
cancer is usually diagnosed with a
biopsy. In this test, the doctor removes a small
sample of the lining of the uterus to look for cancer cells.
The main treatment for endometrial cancer is surgery to remove the uterus plus
fallopian tubes. This is
called a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Other treatments include radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy.
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.