Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Uterine Cancer

Conditions A-Z - Uterine Cancer

What is the uterus?

The uterus, also called the womb, is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman's lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum.

What are parts of the uterus?

What is uterine cancer?

Cancers that occur in each part of the uterus have their own names, such as cervical cancer or endometrial cancer, but are sometimes broadly defined as uterine cancer because the structure is part of the uterus. Cancer of the uterus spreads through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 42,160 cases of cancer of the uterine corpus (body of the uterus) will be diagnosed in the US during 2009.

What are noncancerous conditions of the uterus?

Some conditions in the uterus caused by abnormal, rapid, and uncontrolled division of cells are not cancer. Three of these benign (noncancerous) conditions include:

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases, including cancers, have different risk factors.

Although these factors can increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop cancer, while others develop cancer and have no known risk factors.

But, knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.

What are risk factors for uterine cancer?

The following have been suggested as risk factors for uterine cancer:

The following are known risk factors for uterine cancer:

What are the symptoms of uterine cancer?

The following are the most common symptoms of uterine cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Cancer of the uterus often does not occur before menopause. It usually occurs around the time menopause begins. The occasional reappearance of bleeding should not be considered simply part of menopause. It should always be checked by a physician.

The symptoms of uterine cancer may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is uterine cancer diagnosed?

When symptoms suggest uterine cancer, the following may be used to make a positive diagnosis:

What are the stages of uterine cancer?

When cancer cells are found, other tests are used to determine if the disease has spread from the uterus to other parts of the body. This process is called staging. Staging procedures that may be performed include the following:

The National Cancer Institute has defined the following stages of uterine cancer:

Stage I The cancer is only in the body of the uterus and not in the cervix.
Stage II The cancer has spread from the body of the uterus to the cervix.
Stage III The cancer has spread outside the body of the uterus but has not spread outside of the pelvis. However, lymph nodes in the pelvis may contain cancer cells.
Stage IV The cancer has spread into the bladder or rectum or has spread beyond the pelvis.

Treatment for uterine cancer:

Specific treatment for uterine cancer will be determined by your physician based on:

Treatment may include:

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