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Cancer Health Center

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Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer - What Increases Your Risk

A risk factor for endometrial cancer is something that increases your chance of getting it. But it doesn't mean that you will definitely get it. And many people who get endometrial cancer don't have any risk factors.

The biggest risk factor for most endometrial cancers is related to the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is not a risk factor for endometrial cancer when it is balanced with another hormone, progesterone. But when estrogen is not kept in balance with progesterone, it can cause problems that raise a woman's risk for this cancer.

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Many of the medical and scientific terms used in this summary are found in the NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms. When a linked term is clicked, the definition will appear in a separate window. Many of the genes described in this summary are found in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database. When OMIM appears after a gene name or the name of a condition, click on OMIM for a link to more information. There are several hereditary syndromes that involve endocrine or neuroendocrine glands,...

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Risk factors for endometrial cancer include:

  • Being obese. Fat cells make extra estrogen, but the body doesn't make extra progesterone to balance it out.
  • Taking estrogen without taking a progestin.
  • Taking tamoxifen. Tamoxifen reduces your risk for breast cancer but can increase your risk for endometrial cancer.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. This can cause you to produce too much estrogen and not enough progesterone.
  • Having naturally high levels of estrogen. This can cause women to start their periods before age 12 and delay menopause until after they are 52.

Other things that increase your risk include:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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