What is endometrial cancer?
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. Endometrial cancer occurs when cells in the lining begin to behave abnormally, growing and multiplying at a quick rate. Information on this page pertains specifically to endometrial cancer, as other types of uterine cancers – though possible – account for fewer than 95% of cancers in the uterus.
According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be 60,050 cases of endometrial cancer in the U.S. in 2016, making it the most common cancer of the reproductive organs in women in the U.S. Though that number is high, the good news is that endometrial cancer has an 81.7% survival rate at five years post-diagnosis. Outcomes are much better for patients with localized Stage I endometrial cancer – around 95.4% relatively. The stages of endometrial cancer are discussed in more detail below.
The other piece of good news about endometrial cancer is that it is often detected in its early stage. In most cases, early stage endometrial cancer causes abnormal vaginal bleeding, which prompts women to see their physicians, which creates an opportunity for evaluation and diagnosis. Learn more about risk factors below.
What are the risk factors for endometrial cancer?
Risks for endometrial cancer include:
- Being obese
- Early menstruation and/or late menopause (age 52 or later) (Increased exposure of the endometrium to estrogen increases risk.)
- Experiencing changes in estrogen or progesterone hormones.
- Getting older
- Having HNPCC, an inherited colon cancer syndrome
- Having hormone therapy for breast cancer
- Never having been pregnant
- Other chronic conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Are there symptoms of endometrial cancer?
- Abnormal, watery, or blood-tinged vaginal discharge
- Post-menopausal vaginal bleeding
- Bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your physician for an evaluation.
How do you screen for and detect endometrial cancer?
Endometrial cancer may be screened for in your primary care provider or gynecologist’s office via pelvic examination, transvaginal ultrasound, hysteroscopy or a minor, painless biopsy. In some cases, dilation and curettage (D&C) may be used to obtain a biopsy.
The Stages of Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer
Oncologists at Jordan Valley Cancer Center use the following stages to describe endometrial cancer’s progression:
- Stage I: cancer is only found in the uterus
- Stage II: cancer present in uterus and cervix
- Stage III: cancer has spread beyond uterus, but not to the rectum or bladder; lymph nodes in the pelvis may be involved
- Stage IV: cancer has moved to more remote areas of the body
How do you treat endometrial cancer?
One of Jordan Valley Cancer Center’s top strengths is its diversity of oncologists. By combining cancer treatment specialists from a wide range of backgrounds, including Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Surgical Oncology, we ensure our patients receive the options that are right for their specific case of endometrial cancer. As a patient of Jordan Valley Cancer Center, you will be paired with a Nurse Navigator who will help you understand your options and answer questions as you make decisions. Learn more about…
- Oral Chemotherapy Dispensing
- Hormonal Therapy
- Radiation Therapy
- Minimally Invasive & Laparoscopic Surgery
- Hysterectomy (da Vinci)
The Patient Experience at Jordan Valley Cancer Center
For more information about endometrial (uterine) cancer care, contact us at 801-601-2260.