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Endometrial Cancer (Endometrial Carcinoma)

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 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... Read more about Endometrial Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

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.

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.

The effect of hormonal treatment on advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is cancer arising from the lining of the womb. Most women with endometrial cancer are diagnosed when their tumour is still confined to the body of the womb. However, about 10% of women with endometrial cancer are diagnosed when the disease is already at an advanced stage. The latter group of patients tend to have much poorer survival.

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Summaries for consumers

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.

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.

The effect of hormonal treatment on advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is cancer arising from the lining of the womb. Most women with endometrial cancer are diagnosed when their tumour is still confined to the body of the womb. However, about 10% of women with endometrial cancer are diagnosed when the disease is already at an advanced stage. The latter group of patients tend to have much poorer survival.

See all (46)

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.
Endometrium
The layer of tissue that lines the uterus.
Metabolic Syndrome
A grouping of health conditions associated with an increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Conditions include hypertension, a large waist, high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, and above-normal blood glucose levels.
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: Carcinoma of the endometrium

See Also: Uterine Sarcoma, Uterine Cancer

Other terms to know: See all 8
Carcinoma, Cervix, Endometrium

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