Uterine Cancer

Condition

What is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer forms in various areas of the uterus, but it’s most commonly found in the inner lining of the uterus as endometrial cancer. Uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer, and it’s found most frequently among women who have gone through menopause.

Mercy is a leader in diagnosing and treating gynecologic cancers, including all stages and types of uterine cancer. We’ll provide you with the best care possible, and our team of cancer experts can help design a treatment plan based on your needs.

Types of Uterine Cancer

There are two main types of uterine cancer and each type forms in a different part of the uterus.

  • Endometrial carcinomas begin in the lining of the uterus and consist of approximately 90% of uterine cancer cases. That’s why uterine cancer is often referred to as endometrial cancer.
  • Uterine sarcomas are a rare form of uterine cancer that begins in the layers of muscles or connective tissues within the uterus.

Cancer that begins in the lower part of the uterus (known as the cervix) is known as cervical cancer.

Endometrial Cancer Causes & Risk Factors

Causes

While there are several risk factors for endometrial cancer, a hormonal imbalance is considered one of the main risk factors. An excess of the hormone estrogen can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Some risk factors like age and family history are out of your control, but there are many risk factors that you can control through your lifestyle.

Risk Factors

Some endometrial cancer risk factors include:

  • Age – over 50 and have been through menopause
  • A larger number of menstrual cycles – early menstruation (before age 12) and/or late menopause
  • Pregnancy – women who have never been pregnant have a higher risk of endometrial cancer than those who have had one or multiple pregnancies
  • Obesity – hormonal balance is disrupted when you’re obese
  • Diabetes/metabolic syndrome – an imbalanced metabolism can increase risk, as well as cause obesity
  • Hypertension – high blood pressure can increase risk
  • Estrogen replacement therapy – women may use menopausal hormone therapy to ease symptoms of menopause; however, if estrogen is not given along with progesterone a hormonal imbalance will occur, increasing a women's risk of endometrial cancer
  • Endometrial hyperplasia – this condition thickens the endometrial layer of the uterus, and the excess growth can become cancerous
  • Past breast or ovarian cancer – previous history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer can increase the risk of developing uterine cancer
  • Family history – a family history of cancer, especially gynecological cancer or colorectal cancer

Endometrial Cancer Prevention

There are no uterine cancer screening exams for women with average risk and no symptoms. If you have some of the factors that put you at a higher risk, talk with your doctor about other procedures to help identify endometrial cancer early. You can help lower the risk of endometrial cancer by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing diabetes
  • Discussing hormone replacement therapy with your doctor
  • Visiting your gynecologist for regular check-ups
  • Taking oral contraceptives long-term

Endometrial Cancer Symptoms

Early signs of endometrial cancer are abnormal bleeding and discharge. Additional signs and symptoms of uterine cancer may include:

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, or non-blood vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Feeling a mass in the pelvic area
  • Unexplained weight loss
Diagnosis & Treatment for Uterine Cancer

If you’re experiencing symptoms of uterine cancer, it can be overwhelming. Mercy's expert care teams have the knowledge and advanced technology to diagnose and treat your cancer.

Learn about uterine cancer diagnosis & treatment options here.

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