Uterine cancers can be of two types: endometrial cancer (common) and uterine sarcoma (rare). Endometrial cancer can often be cured. Uterine sarcoma is often more aggressive and harder to treat. Explore the links on this page to learn more about uterine cancer prevention, screening, treatment, statistics, research, and clinical trials.

Endometrial Cancer Treatment

  • Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium.
  • Obesity and having metabolic syndrome may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
  • Taking tamoxifen for breast cancer or taking estrogen alone (without progesterone) can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
  • Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding or pain in the pelvis.
  • Tests that examine the endometrium are used to detect (find) and diagnose endometrial cancer.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium.

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, a hollow, muscular organ in a woman’s pelvis. The uterus is where a fetus grows. In most nonpregnant women, the uterus is about 3 inches long. The lower, narrow end of the uterus is the cervix, which leads to the vagina.

Cancer of the endometrium is different from cancer of the muscle of the uterus, which is called sarcoma of the uterus. See the PDQ summary on Uterine Sarcoma Treatment for more information about uterine sarcoma.

Obesity and having metabolic syndrome may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk for endometrial cancer.

Risk factors for endometrial cancer include the following:

  • Taking estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause.
  • Taking tamoxifen to prevent or treat breast cancer.
  • Obesity.
  • Having metabolic syndrome.
  • Having type 2 diabetes.
  • Exposure of endometrial tissue to estrogen made by the body. This may be caused by:
    • Never giving birth.
    • Menstruating at an early age.
    • Starting menopause at a later age.
  • Having polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Having a family history of endometrial cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter).
  • Having certain genetic conditions, such as Lynch syndrome.
  • Having endometrial hyperplasia.

Older age is the main risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older.

Uterine Sarcoma Treatment

  • Uterine sarcoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the muscles of the uterus or other tissues that support the uterus.
  • Past treatment with radiation therapy to the pelvis can increase the risk of uterine sarcoma.
  • Signs of uterine sarcoma include abnormal bleeding.
  • Tests that examine the uterus are used to detect (find) and diagnose uterine sarcoma.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment op

Past treatment with radiation therapy to the pelvis can increase the risk of uterine sarcoma.

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for uterine sarcoma include the following:

  • Past treatment with radiation therapy to the pelvis.
  • Treatment with tamoxifen for breast cancer. If you are taking this drug, have a pelvic exam every year and report any vaginal bleeding (other than menstrual bleeding) as soon as possible.

Endometrial Cancer Prevention

  • Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer.
  • The following risk factors increase the risk of endometrial cancer:
    • Endometrial hyperplasia
    • Estrogen
    • Tamoxifen
    • Obesity, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes
    • Genetic factors
  • The following protective factors decrease the risk of endometrial cancer:
    • Pregnancy and breast-feeding
    • Hormonal contraceptives
    • Weight loss
    • Physical activity
  • Cigarette smoking is also a protective factor for endometrial cancer; however, there are many known harms of smoking that outweigh this benefit.
  • It is not known if the following factor affects the risk of endometrial cancer:
    • Fruits, vegetables, and vitamins
  • Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.
  • New ways to prevent endometrial cancer are being studied in clinical trials.

Endometrial Cancer Screening

From 2007 to 2016, the number of new cases of endometrial cancer increased slightly in white and black women. From 2008 to 2017, the number of deaths from endometrial cancer increased slightly in white and black women. When endometrial cancer is diagnosed in black women, it is usually more advanced and less likely to be cured.

 

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.