(Endometrial Cancer; Cancer, Uterine; Cancer, Endometrial; Endometrial Adenocarcinoma)
DefinitionUterine cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the uterus. The walls of the uterus are made of 2 types of lining. The endometrium is the inner lining and the myometrium is the muscular, outer lining. The most common type of uterine cancer (adenocarcinoma) begins in the endometrium. Less common cancers, called sarcomas, begin in the myometrium.This fact sheet will focus on endometrial cancer.
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CausesCancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant growths. These growths can invade nearby tissues. Cancer that has invaded nearby tissues can then spread to other parts of the body.Exposure to estrogen seems to be strongly related to the development of endometrial cancer. It is not clear exactly what causes changes in the cells, but is probably a combination of genetics and environment.
Risk FactorsEndometrial cancer is more common in women aged 50-60 years old. Other factors that increase your chance of endometrial cancer include:
- Obesity —especially in women experiencing menopause before age 45
- High blood pressure
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Endometrial polyps
- No history of pregnancy
- Early start of menstrual periods
- Late menopause , which lengthens exposure to estrogen
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