What is Endometrial Cancer?
Endometrial cancer is sometimes referred to as uterine cancer. That’s because this type of cancer starts in the lining of the uterus called the endometrium. There is another type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma where cancer forms in the muscle wall of the uterus. Uterine sarcoma is less common.
What are the Risks for developing Endometrial Cancer?
As with most cancers, one of the primary risk factors is age. An endometrial cancer diagnosis is more likely as women get older. However there are other risk factors that make women more likely to develop this type of cancer, including:
- Taking estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause
- Taking tamoxifen to prevent or treat breast cancer
- Being obese
- Having type 2 diabetes
- Having polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Having endometrial hyperplasia
- Never giving birth
- Starting menstruation at an early age
- Starting menopause at a later age
- Having a family history of endometrial cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter with the same diagnosis)
It’s important to remember that risk factors only increase your likelihood of developing a particular type of cancer. If you are at a higher risk for endometrial cancer, talk to your gynecologist about your pelvic exam schedule and be sure you discuss anything out of the ordinary with your menstruation or pain in the pelvic area.