What is Uterine cancer
The uterus is a hollow, muscular organ where a fetus grows. Uterine cancer can start in different parts of the uterus. Most uterine cancers start in the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus). This is called endometrial cancer. Most endometrial cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make mucus and other fluids).
Uterine sarcoma is an uncommon form of uterine cancer that forms in the muscle and tissue that support the uterus.
AObesity, certain inherited conditions, and taking estrogen alone (without progesterone) can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Radiation therapy to the pelvis can increase the risk of uterine sarcoma. Taking tamoxifen for breast cancer can increase the risk of both endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma.
The most common sign of endometrial cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding. Endometrial cancer can usually be cured. Uterine sarcoma is harder to cure.
A Snapshot of Uterine Cancer
Endometrial cancer is both the most common type of uterine cancer and the most common cancer of the female reproductive system, accounting for approximately 6 percent of all cancers in women in the United States. Since 2002, overall incidence rates have not changed significantly, whereas mortality rates have been slowly rising since 2001. Although the incidence rate of endometrial cancer is only slightly higher in African American women than in whites, the mortality rate of African American women is nearly twice as high as that of all other racial/ethnic groups.
Several factors are associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer, including obesity, exposure to endogenous or exogenous estrogens, tamoxifen use, and certain inherited conditions. Factors associated with a reduced risk include engaging in physical activity, taking oral contraceptives that combine estrogen and progestin, and having a history of pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. Surgical removal of the uterus or hormone therapy may be used to prevent endometrial cancer in women with endometrial hyperplasia. There is no standard or routine screening test for endometrial cancer. Standard treatments for endometrial cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biologic therapy.
Assuming that incidence and survival rates follow recent trends, it is estimated that $2.6 billion1 will be spent on uterine cancer care in the United States in 2014.