Uterine Cancer or Endometrial Cancer
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.
Obesity and having metabolic syndrome may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
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 endometrial cancer include the following:
- Having endometrial hyperplasia.
- Being obese.
- Having metabolic syndrome, a set of conditions that occur together, including extra fat around the abdomen, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high levels of triglyceridesand low levels of high-density lipoproteins in the blood.
- Never giving birth.
- Beginning menstruation at an early age.
- Reaching menopause at an older age.
- Having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- Having a mother, sister, or daughter with uterine cancer.
- Having a certain gene change that is linked to Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer).
- Having hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood).
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding or pain in the pelvis.
These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by endometrial cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Vaginal bleeding or discharge not related to menstruation (periods).
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause.
- Difficult or painful urination.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Pain in the pelvic area.