Overview

of Uterine Cancer

The uterus is the female reproductive organ where the unborn baby grows and develops until birth. This muscular organ is connected to the vagina by the cervix and contains entrances for the two fallopian tubes, which transfer eggs from the ovaries. The uterus is a highly hormone sensitive organ with monthly bleeding and shedding cycles (menstruation) in the absence of pregnancy.

Uterine (endometrial) cancer is one of the most common gynecologic cancers in women, with more than 67,000 individuals diagnosed each year in the United States and more than 10,00 deaths from the disease annualy.1 Fortunately approximately 80% of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer after developing abnormal uterine bleeding will have cancer limited to the uterus (stage I and II) and the majority are cured.  The incidence of uterine cancer would be even higher if it weren’t for the relatively large number of hysterectomies performed for non-cancerous reasons. Surgery is the primary treatment for uterine cancer and approximately 82% of women survive 5 years after diagnosis.

The growth of the most common uterine cancer, adenocarcinoma, is sensitive to female hormones. Uterine cancer usually arises from the lining of the uterus or endometrium. For most women, uterine cancer is brought to medical attention because of unanticipated or problematic bleeding from the uterus, usually occurring after menopause.

Next: Symptoms & Signs of Uterine Cancer

References


1 American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2017.