- Home >
- Services & Specialties >
- Obstetrics and Gynecology >
- Diseases and Conditions >
- Uterine Cancer
What is uterine cancer?
Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women and the most common cancer of a woman's reproductive system.
There are two major types of uterine cancer:
- Endometrial cancer (adenocarcinoma). Cancer that develops in the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium; more than 95% of uterine cancers are endometrial cancer.
- Sarcoma cancer. Cancer that develops in the uterine muscle (the myometrium) or in the supporting tissues of the uterine glands; sarcoma accounts for only about two to four percent of all uterine cancers.
What causes uterine cancer?
Uterine cancer occurs when cells in the uterus change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor.
The exact cause of uterine cancer is not yet known; however, the following factors may increase a woman's risk of developing the disease:
- Age - uterine cancer most often occurs in postmenopausal women over age 50
- Race - white women are more likely to develop uterine cancer than black women
- Genetics - uterine cancer may run in families where colon cancer is hereditary
- Other cancers or health conditions - including , colon or ovarian cancer, endometrial hyperplasia, and insulin resistance or diabetes
- Radiation therapy
- Estrogen therapy
What are the symptoms of uterine cancer?
In some cases, women with uterine cancer do not have symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain or pressure in the pelvic area
- Longer, heavier periods than normal
- Pain or difficulty when urinating
- Bleeding or spotting between menstrual cycles
- Postmenopausal bleeding
How is uterine cancer diagnosed?
Diagnosis may include:
- A thorough medical history and physical exam
- A pelvic exam and Pap test
- Imaging tests such as a transvaginal ultrasound, X-ray, or computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan to not only diagnose uterine cancer but determine if it has spread, or metastasized
- Endometrial biopsy or D&C (dilation and curettage) - a procedure to remove tissue samples from the lining of the uterus for examination under a microscope
How is uterine cancer treated?
Treatment depends on the individual patient and their cancer but typically involves a combination of therapies, including:
- Surgery - to remove the cancerous tissue, typically a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) as well as removal of the ovaries and lymph nodes near the tumor to determine if the cancer has spread
- Radiation - uses high-energy X-rays to kill microscopic cancer cells that may remain after surgery
- Chemotherapy - the use of drugs, typically given intravenously (through a vein) to destroy cancer cells
- Hormone therapy - the use of progesterone, typically taken as a pill, to slow the growth of uterine cancer cells
Make an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) physician specializing in uterine cancer, call the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at BCM, part of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at 832-826-7500.
Hours & Phone Number
- Monday- Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
- To schedule an appointment,
- call 832.826.7500.
- Visit the Obstetrics and Gynecology website.
- Are you interested in participating in clinical trials? Discuss opportunities with your physician.
The courtesy and professionalism was extraordinary and the kindness was overwhelming.