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Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer and is the easiest to diagnose.  According to the American Cancer Society, approximately, 61,380 women will be diagnosed annually and an estimated 10,920 will succumb to the disease.  If caught early, over 90% of women with this cancer survive five years.

Types of Endometrial Cancer

Nearly all forms of uterine cancer are endometrial carcinomas, which refers to cancer that begins in tissues that form the lining of the inside of the uterus. It is generally referred to simply as endometrial cancer. Other kinds of cancer can form in the uterus as well. These are called uterine sarcomas. Endometrial cancer usually takes years to develop and most often occurs in women who have gone through menopause.

Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge. At first, the bleeding may appear watery with a small amount of blood in it. After a while, the bleeding may appear less watery with more blood in it.
  • Vaginal bleeding after a woman has already gone through menopause.
  • Pain when urinating.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Pain in the pelvic area or lower abdomen.

Many of these signs may be signs of other health problems, so it is important to speak with your doctor right away to find out for sure. Please note that some women who have endometrial cancer are going through menopause. During this time, a woman stops having menstrual periods. Often, menopausal women do not tell their doctor about unusual vaginal bleeding because they believe it is a symptom of menopause. It is important, however, to always tell your doctor about any vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you, even during menopause.

For more information see:
Gynecologic Cancer Foundation: www.wcn.org
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/endometrial
The Foundation for Women’s Cancer:
http://www.foundationforwomenscancer.org/educational-materials/uterine-cancer/ (in English and Spanish)
The Foundation for Women’s Cancer: Uterine Cancer blog:
Memorial Sloan Kettering video on Endometrial Cancer Symptoms and Prevention:


Sources:  Women’s Cancer Network; the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation; American Cancer Society

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