Uterine cancer, also known as womb cancer, are two types of cancer that develops from the tissues of the uterus. Endometrial cancer forms from the lining of the uterus and uterine sarcoma forms from the muscles or support tissue of the uterus. Symptoms of endometrial cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding or pain in the pelvis. Symptoms of uterine sarcoma include unusual vaginal bleeding or a mass in the vagina.
|Other names||Womb cancer|
|Symptoms||Endometrial cancer: vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain|
Uterine sarcoma: vaginal bleeding, mass in the vagina
|Types||Endometrial cancer, uterine sarcoma|
|Risk factors||Endometrial cancer: obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, family history of the condition|
Uterine sarcoma: radiation therapy to the pelvis
|Treatment||Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy|
|Prognosis||81% 5 year survival (US)|
|Frequency||3.8 million (2015)|
Risk factors for endometrial cancer include obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and a family history of the condition. Risk factors for uterine sarcoma include prior radiation therapy to the pelvis. Diagnosis of endometrial cancer is typically based on an endometrial biopsy. A diagnosis of uterine sarcoma may be suspected based on symptoms, a pelvic exam, and medical imaging.
Endometrial cancer can often be cured while uterine sarcoma typically is harder to treat. Treatment may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Just over 80% of people survive more than 5 years following diagnosis.
In 2015 about 3.8 million people were affected globally and it resulted in 90,000 deaths. Endometrial cancer is relatively common while uterine sarcoma is rare. In the United States they represent 3.6% of new cancer cases. They most commonly occur in women between the ages of 55 and 74.
It is not known with certainty what the causes for uterine cancer may be, though hormone imbalance is speculated as a risk factor. Estrogen receptors, known to be present on the surfaces of the cells of this type of cancer, are thought to interact with the hormone causing increased cell growth, which can then result in cancer. The exact mechanism of how this occurs is not understood.
- Endometrial carcinomas originate from cells in the glands of the endometrium (uterine lining). These include the common and readily treatable well-differentiated endometrioid adenocarcinoma, as well as the more aggressive uterine papillary serous carcinoma and uterine clear-cell carcinoma.
- Endometrial stromal sarcomas originate from the connective tissues of the endometrium, and are far less common than endometrial carcinomas.
- Malignant mixed Müllerian tumors are rare endometrial tumors which show both glandular (carcinomatous) and stromal (sarcomatous) differentiation – carcinosarcoma behaves similar to a high grade carcinoma, and it is felt to be of epithelial origin rather than true sarcoma.
Uterine cancer resulted in about 58,000 deaths worldwide in 2010 up from 45,000 in 1990.
Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the UK (around 8,500 women were diagnosed with the disease in 2011), and it is the tenth most common cause of cancer death in women (around 2,000 people died in 2012).
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