Endometrial cancer, also called uterine cancer, refers to the formation of any
malignancy develops in the endometrial tissue of the uterus, a hollow pear-shaped muscular organ of the female
reproductive system located in the lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum, and in charge for the
development of the embryo and fetus during pregnancy.
The tumor should not be confused
cancer which affects mainly young women and has different
epidemiological characteristics and causes: mainly genital infection by a sexually transmitted virus called
Human Papilloma virus (HPV). Endometrial cancer, however, affects mostly menopausal women and differs in
therapeutic procedures. The disease is rare in women under the age of 45, occurring mostly after
To better understand endometrial
cancer, it is important to comprehend the organ from which it forms.
The endometrium is a thin mucosa that lines the inside of the
uterus. Under the effect of hormones, it thickens during the first half of the menstrual cycle. If there has
been no fertilization of the egg, part of the endometrium is then removed during menstruation. The process
continues like this every month, until menopause.
The cancer develops when cells in
initially normal endometrium tissue is transformed and then multiplies uncontrollably to form a cluster of
abnormal cells called malignant tumor. Most often, endometrial cancers arise from a cell of the first layer of
the endometrium, epithelium. They are then called carcinomas; endometrial carcinomas are the most common forms
of endometrial cancer. Without a proper treatment to stop the progression, the malignant cells can leave their
initial site to spread to the muscle of the uterus and surrounding organs. For more information, please see
endometrial cancer treatment.
In term of incidence, the condition is
the most common gynecologic cancer and the fourth, in women, after breast, lung and colon cancers. It is
estimated that up to 3% of women in the United States will develop uterine cancer at some point during their
Fortunately, it is a cancer of good
prognosis. The tumor is often diagnosed in its early developmental stage when it has caused no serious damages
to the endometrium. Undergoing an effective endometrial cancer treatment at earliest possible is the key to
successfully fight the disease. When a uterine cancer is treated in its early stage, the 5 years survival rate
after the treatment is 95%.
One of the reasons endometrial cancer
has a good prognosis is the fact that it is often discovered during an early assessment of abnormal uterine
bleeding in a postmenopausal woman. A woman in her menopause must see a medical doctor from the first appearance
of endometrial cancer symptoms such as vaginal bleeding. Menopausal women must also see a health specialist in
case of vaginal bleeding outside their periods.
For more information on warning signs and symptoms, please see
endometrial cancer symptoms.
Treatment of endometrial cancer depends
on its stage at diagnosis. However, very often the tumor is accessible to curative surgery. When diagnosed at a
more advanced stage, endometrial cancer treatment tends to include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and/or
hormone therapy. These last two therapies are most often applied when a cure is almost
Institute. Long-term data support cisplatin-based chemoradiation for cervical cancer. Available at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/results/cisplatin-cervical0507 (accessed
March 20, 2009)
Clinic Foundation. Carcinoma of the endometrium availavle at
(retrieved May 21, 2015