Uterine Cancer

The uterus is part of the female reproductive system and is a hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows.

Risk Factors

  • Age — Cancer of the uterus occurs mostly in women over age 50.
  • Endometrial Hyperplasia — The risk of uterine cancer is higher if a woman has this condition.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy — This is used to control the symptoms of menopause, to prevent osteoporosis and to reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Obesity and Related Conditions — Obese women are more likely than thin women to have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies. High levels of estrogen may be the reason that obese women have an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.
  • Tamoxifen — Women taking this drug to prevent or treat breast cancer have an increased risk of uterine cancer because of the drug's estrogen-like effect on the uterus.


  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge


Your physician will conduct a thorough physical exam, which may include one or more of the following procedures:

  • Biopsy — The doctor removes a sample of tissue from the uterine lining, which can usually be done in the doctor's office.
  • Pap Test — The doctor collects cells from the cervix and upper vagina, and a medical laboratory tests for abnormal cells.
  • Pelvic Exam — The doctor uses a speculum to see the upper part of the vagina and the cervix.
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound — The doctor inserts an instrument into the vagina that aims high-frequency sound waves at the uterus. The pattern of the echoes they produce creates a picture.

Source: National Cancer Institute