Uterine cancer is the growth of cancer cells that start in the uterus. The walls of the uterus are made of an inner and outer lining. The endometrium is the inner lining. This is where the most common type of uterine cancer begins.
This fact sheet will focus on endometrial cancer.
Cancer is the out of control growth of cells. The cells form a clump of tissue called a growth or tumor. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues. It can then spread to other parts of the body.
The exact cause of uterine cancer is not known. It may be linked to exposure to the hormone estrogen. Genes and environment may also play a role in this type of cancer.
Uterine cancer is more common in women over 40 years old. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Symptoms of uterine cancer may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. A pelvic exam will be done. Tests may include:
Uterine cancer is staged from 1 to 4. Stage 1 is a cancer that has stayed in one area. Stage 4 is a cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Treatments for uterine cancer depend on the stage of the cancer. Surgery will be done to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Surgery to remove the uterus is called hysterectomy. Nearby tissue, such as ovaries or lymph tissue, may also need to be removed. Other treatment may include:
To help reduce the risk of many cancers:
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Canadian Cancer Society
Women's Health Matters—Women's College Hospital
Endometrial cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrial-cancer.html. Accessed March 8, 2021.
Endometrial cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/endometrial-cancer. Accessed Macrh 8, 2021.
Endometrial cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/gynecologic-tumors/endometrial-cancer. Accessed March 8, 2021.
General information about endometrial cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/uterine/patient/endometrial-treatment-pdq. Accessed March 8, 2021.
1/11/2018 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115517/Breastfeeding: Jordan SJ, Na R, Johnatty SE, et al. Breastfeeding and endometrial cancer risk: an analysis from the epidemiology of cancer consortium. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;129(6):10599-1067.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 3/8/2021