Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer - What Happens
Normally, the lining of the
uterus (endometrium) builds up and then sheds with each menstrual cycle. This shedding is menstrual bleeding, or a menstrual period.
But in most cases of
endometrial cancer, the endometrium has built up and has not shed and thinned. The lining has remained thick. This is called
endometrial hyperplasia. This is a "precancer" stage,
and the cells can grow quickly and out of control. These fast-growing cells are
As the cancerous cells multiply, they form a mass
of tissue, which can cause vaginal bleeding. Especially after menopause, this abnormal bleeding is a reason to call your doctor. Of women who have endometrial cancer after menopause, most have vaginal bleeding.
If endometrial cancer isn't treated, it may spread outside of the uterus. As it progresses, it
may spread to the
pelvic lymph nodes and other pelvic organs. Advanced-stage cancer may spread to
lymph nodes and on to the lungs, liver, bones, brain, and vagina.1
long-term outcome (prognosis) depends on the stage and grade of