Endometrial Cancer

Cancer Types - Endometrial Cancer

Illustration of the anatomy of the female pelvic area
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What is endometrial cancer?

The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Cancer of the endometrium, the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the endometrium. Endometrioid cancer is a specific type of endometrial cancer.

Cancer of the endometrium is different from cancer of the muscle of the uterus, which is called uterine sarcoma. About 80 percent of all endometrial cancers are adenocarcinomas. Endometrial cancer is highly curable when found early. According to the American Cancer Society, about 47,130 cases of cancer of the uterine body will be diagnosed in the US during 2012.

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 endometrial cancer?

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

What are the symptoms of endometrial cancer?

Consult a doctor if you experience any/all of the following symptoms:

How can endometrial cancer be prevented?

The exact cause of endometrial cancer is not known, and there is no medical cure for it at this time. However, doctors believe that avoiding the known risk factors, when possible, using oral contraceptives, controlling obesity, and controlling diabetes are the best ways to lower the risk of developing endometrial cancer.

How is endometrial cancer diagnosed?

Diagnosis includes a medical history and physical exam, including a pelvic exam to feel the vagina, rectum, and lower abdomen (belly) for masses or growths. A Pap test may be requested as part of the pelvic exam. Several additional tests may be used to diagnose endometrial cancer, including:

Treatment for endometrial cancer

Specific treatment for endometrial cancer will be determined by your doctor(s) based on:

The choice of treatment depends on the stage of cancer--whether it is just in the endometrium, or has spread to other parts of the uterus or other parts of the body. Generally, treatment for patients with cancer of the endometrium includes one or more of the following:

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