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Uterine Cancer

Uterine Cancer: Introduction

Uterine cancer is a malignant disease that occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells (abnormal cells) in the uterus. The uterus is the pear shaped organ in a female's pelvis where pregnancy occurs and a fetus grows. Uterine cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. Certain forms of uterine cancer can be easier to diagnose and treat at an earlier and more curable stage than many other types of cancer.

Most uterine cancers begin in the lining (endometrium) of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Another type of uterine cancer is called uterine sarcoma, which develops in the deeper tissues of the uterus and is very rare. Normally, cells in the endometrium and tissues of the uterus that are old or damaged will stop dividing and die before they can become cancerous. These cells are usually replaced by healthy young cells. Uterine cancer occurs when old or damaged cells to continue to divide and multiply uncontrollably.

The exact cause of uterine cancer is unknown. However, the risk of developing uterine sarcoma is higher for women who have had radiation treatment for cancer in the pelvic area, are over the age of 50, or are African-American.

Endometrial cancer may be related to excessive exposure to the hormone estrogen. Risk factors for the development of endometrial cancer include taking estrogen replacement therapy without the use of progesterone. Other risk factors for endometrial cancer include never being pregnant, infertility, and obesity, which increases the amount of estrogen in a woman's body. Risk factors also include hypertension, diabetes, and starting menstruation before age 12 or menopause after age 50. Having a history of endometrial polyps or taking the drug tamoxifen for breast cancer treatment also increase the risk. Endometrial cancer occurs most often in women who are between the ages of 50 and 70.

Left untreated, cancer cells of both types of uterine cancer can continue to multiply and spread through the wall of the uterus. This is called metastasis. Uterine cancer can also metastasize to nearby lymph nodes and abdominal organs and to the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes. If left untreated, uterine cancer can spread to the lungs and other organs and be fatal. Symptoms of uterine cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding and unusual vaginal discharge. For additional symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of uterine cancer.

Diagnosing uterine cancer begins with taking a medical history, including a history of pregnancies, estrogen use, and symptoms, and completing a physical and pelvic examination. During the pelvic examination, the health care practitioner will assess the reproductive organs including the uterus, and the type and amount of vaginal bleeding and vaginal discharge. A Pap smear will also be performed. A Pap smear is a basic screening test that can detect abnormal cells in the cervix of the uterus, which may or may not be present with uterine cancer.

A diagnosis of uterine cancer is made by taking a biopsy, a sample of the endometrial tissue in the uterus, and examining the sample under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. An endometrial biopsy can be taken during a procedure called a hysteroscopy. In a hysteroscopy, a special flexible lighted instrument is inserted into the uterus to view the endometrium and to take a sample of endometrial tissue.

A diagnosis of uterine cancer may be missed or delayed because symptoms can resemble symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For information on diseases and conditions that can mimic uterine cancer, refer to misdiagnosis of uterine cancer.

Uterine cancer is treatable and the prognosis for a complete cure is best if it is diagnosed and treated at an early stage before cancer cells have spread outside of the uterus. Treatment of uterine cancer varies, depending on the individual case and the stage of the cancer. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and possibly chemotherapy. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of uterine cancer. ...more »

Uterine Cancer: Uterine cancer -- also called sarcoma of the uterus -- is a very rare kind of cancer in women. It is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells ... more about Uterine Cancer.

Uterine Cancer: Cancer of the uterus. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Uterine Cancer is available below.

Uterine Cancer: Symptoms

The primary symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This can include any vaginal bleeding after menopause. In younger women who still menstruate, symptoms can include excessively heavy menstrual periods and/or vaginal bleeding between periods.

Other symptoms may include an unusual vaginal discharge that is watery and pink or ...more symptoms »

Uterine Cancer: Treatments

Treatment of uterine cancer is tailored to the individual case, and the stage (advancement) of cancer. Treatment may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Treatment of uterine cancer often includes surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). For the treatment of uterine cancer, this major surgical procedure generally ...more treatments »

Uterine Cancer: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of uterine cancer may be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other conditions. These include cervical cancer, cervical polyps, sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic inflammatory disease, spontaneous abortion, endometrial hyperplasia, fibroids, endometrial polyps, and the side effects of using an IUD for contraception. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

Treatments for Uterine Cancer

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Uterine Cancer?

Uterine Cancer: Related Patient Stories

Uterine Cancer: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Uterine Cancer.

Alternative Treatments for Uterine Cancer

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Uterine Cancer may include:

Types of Uterine Cancer

Diagnostic Tests for Uterine Cancer

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Uterine Cancer: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Uterine Cancer:

Causes of Uterine Cancer

Read more about causes of Uterine Cancer.

More information about causes of Uterine Cancer:

Disease Topics Related To Uterine Cancer

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Uterine Cancer:

Uterine Cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Uterine Cancer

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Uterine Cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Uterine Cancer

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Uterine Cancer:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Uterine Cancer, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Uterine Cancer: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Uterine Cancer

Medical research articles related to Uterine Cancer include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Uterine Cancer: Animations

Prognosis for Uterine Cancer

Research about Uterine Cancer

Visit our research pages for current research about Uterine Cancer treatments.

Clinical Trials for Uterine Cancer

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Uterine Cancer include:

Statistics for Uterine Cancer

Uterine Cancer: Broader Related Topics

Uterine Cancer Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Uterine Cancer, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer -- also called sarcoma of the uterus -- is a very rare kind of cancer in women. It is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells start growing in the muscles or other supporting tissues of the uterus. Cancer of the uterus is different from cancer of the endometrium, a disease in which cancer cells start growing in the lining of the uterus. You should see your doctor if you have bleeding after menopause (the time when you no longer have menstrual periods) or bleeding that is not part of your menstrual cycle. Cancer of the uterus usually occurs after menopause. (Source: excerpt from Uterine Cancer: NWHIC)

 

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