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Endometrial Cancer

Cancer that forms in the tissue lining the uterus (the small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis in which a fetus develops).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium.

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. See the PDQ summary on Uterine Sarcoma Treatment for more information.

Obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes mellitus 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... Read more about Endometrial Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Adjuvant radiotherapy for endometrial cancer: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Wei D M, Mei L, Fang F, Wu T X, Liu G J.  Adjuvant radiotherapy for endometrial cancer: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2009; 9(4): 465-475

No evidence to support use of adjuvant progestagens to prevent recurrence of endometrial cancer after surgery

Endometrial (womb) cancer is the most common genital tract cancer in developed countries. Progestagen (a hormone) therapy is sometimes used following initial surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. However, progestagens have been found to reduce one of the protective factors against heart disease and may also make tumours more resistant to radiotherapy. This review found no evidence to support the use of progestagen as an addition to surgery for newly diagnosed endometrial cancer. Progestagen can, however, prevent or delay recurrence of cancer in some patients.

More chemotherapy helps women with advanced endometrial cancer; however, the best combination of chemotherapy drugs is still not clear

Using more chemotherapy drugs in combination seems to help women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer to live for longer and to delay the cancer from spreading or getting worse. However, giving these extra drugs may cause more serious short‐term side effects. We do not know what effect using more drugs has on long‐term side effects, control of symptoms or quality of life because they were poorly studied in the individual trials included in this review.

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Summaries for consumers

Endometrial Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about tests used to detect or screen for endometrial cancer.

Endometrial Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about factors that may influence the risk of developing endometrial cancer and about research aimed at the prevention of this disease.

Endometrial Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of endometrial cancer.

See all (36)

Terms to know

Carcinoma
Carcinoma is a cancer found in body tissues that cover or line surfaces of organs, glands, or body structures.
Cervix
The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.
Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus)
A disease in which the body does not control the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood and the kidneys make a large amount of urine. This disease occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it the way it should.
Endometrium
The layer of tissue that lines the uterus.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
A condition present when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal. Also called high blood pressure. Hypertension can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and death.
Mucus
A thick, slippery fluid made by the membranes that line certain organs of the body, including the nose, mouth, throat, and vagina.
Sarcoma
A cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
Uterus (Womb)
The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called womb.
Vagina
The muscular canal that goes from the uterus to the outside of the body. During birth, the baby passes through the vagina.

More about Endometrial Cancer

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Endometrial carcinoma

See Also: Uterine Sarcoma, Uterine Cancer

Other terms to know: See all 9
Carcinoma, Cervix, Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus)

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