Uterine cancer occurs in the uterus, the part of a woman’s reproductive system where a fetus develops during pregnancy. Approximately 3% of all people assigned female at birth are diagnosed with uterine cancer at some point during their lives.
There are two types of uterine cancer. The most common form is endometrial cancer, which develops in the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Uterine sarcoma, which develops in the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium) occurs much more rarely.
Endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma share some symptoms. These include:
- Vaginal bleeding between periods or after menopause
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
- Thin white or clear vaginal discharge after menopause
- Heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding after the age of 40
People with uterine sarcoma may also experience a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, frequent urination, and constipation.
While there’s no clear cause for either form of uterine cancer, certain factors can increase your risk, such as:
- Ovarian diseases that raise estrogen levels and lower progesterone levels
- Long lifetime menstruation period, beginning before the age of 12 and/or ending after the age of 50
- Not getting pregnant
- Medical treatments that cause radiation exposure to the pelvic region or increase estrogen levels
Treatment for uterine cancer typically involves surgery combined with additional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and medication that targets specific cancer cells.
The surgery most commonly performed to treat uterine cancer is a hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the uterus and cervix. You may also require a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which involves the removal of your ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent the further spread of the cancer, as well as lymph node dissection, which involves the removal of lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread.
If you are experiencing symptoms of uterine cancer and require a diagnosis or treatment, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center by calling (718) 291-3276.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.