What are Uterine and Endometrial Cancers?
Uterine and endometrial cancers form in the cells that make up the endometrium — the tissue that lines the inner layer of the uterus.
Uterine and endometrial cancers have similar cell types and behaviors and often respond the same to treatment.
These cancers typically develop after menopause, between the ages of 50 and 60.
Types of Uterine and Endometrial Cancers
There are four types of uterine and endometrial cancers.
Cancer that develops in the glands that line the uterus.
A rare cancer that forms in muscle or other tissues of the uterus.
A type of uterine sarcoma that forms in the smooth muscle cells of the uterus.
Endometrial stromal sarcoma
Tumors that begin in the cells that produce the sex hormones:
Who's at Risk for Uterine and Endometrial Cancers?
Any woman can develop uterine or endometrial cancer, but certain factors may increase your risk, including:
- Age over 50
- First menstruation (menarche) at an early age
- Endometrial hyperplasia, a precancerous condition
- A family history of reproductive cancers or colon cancer
- Late menopause
- Obesity or a high-fat diet
- Ovarian diseases, including polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Postmenopausal status
- Having a previous cancer diagnosis
- Taking Tamoxifen — a drug that affects a woman’s hormones — after breast cancer
- The use of estrogen replacement therapy without progesterone
» Learn more about gynecologic cancer prevention and screening.
Symptoms of Uterine and Endometrial Cancers
Symptoms of uterine and endometrial cancers are the same and may include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause
- Bleeding between periods
- Prolonged periods
- Bloating or other abdominal discomfort
- Difficult or painful urination
- Pain during intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Unexplained weight changes
Testing for and Diagnosing Uterine and Endometrial Cancers
Specialists at the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program use a variety of tests to diagnose and screen for uterine and endometrial cancers, including:
Uterine or Endometrial Cancer Treatment at the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program
If you're diagnosed with uterine or endometrial cancer, your treatment will depend on the following factors:
- Your age
- Your desire to have children
- The size of your tumor
- The stage of your cancer
- Your human papillomavirus (HPV) status
- Other medical conditions
Your doctors and other specialists at the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program will work with you to consider your options and determine a course of action.
Treatment Options for Uterine and Endometrial Cancers
Surgery is often the recommended treatment for uterine and endometrial cancers.
In selective circumstances, we may recommend chemotherapy — before (neo adjuvant) or after (adjuvant) surgery — to control an aggressive cancer or to reduce the risk of recurrence.
The use of chemotherapy treatment depends on:
- Your age
- The stage of your gynecologic cancer
We may also use radiation therapy to treat uterine or endometrial cancer.
Comprehensive Gynecologic Cancer Care
As a patient of the Gynecologic Cancer Program, you have access to additional treatment options and services, including: