Uterine Cancer is the most common cancer occurring in a woman’s Reproductive System.
Uterine Cancer begins when healthy cells in the uterus change and grow out of control, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor can grow but generally will not invade other tissues.
Noncancerous conditions of the uterus include:
Fibroids: Benign tumors in the muscle of the uterus
Benign polyps: Abnormal growths in the lining of the uterus
Endometriosis: A condition in which endometrial tissue, which usually lines the inside of the uterus, is found on the outside of the uterus or other organs.
There are 2 major types of Uterine Cancer:
Adenocarcinoma. This type makes up more than 80% of uterine cancers. It develops from cells in the endometrium. This cancer is commonly called endometrial cancer. One common endometrial adenocarcinoma is called endometrioid carcinoma, and treatment varies depending on the grade of the tumor, how far it goes into the uterus, and the stage or extent of disease.
Sarcoma. This type of uterine cancer develops in the supporting tissues of the uterine glands or in the myometrium, which is the uterine muscle. Sarcoma accounts for about 2% to 4% of uterine cancers. In most situations, sarcomas are treated differently than adenocarcinomas.
Risk Factors and Prevention:
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do.
The following factors may raise a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer:
Age. Uterine cancer most often occurs in women over 50; the average age is 60.
Obesity. Fatty tissue in women who are overweight produces additional estrogen, a sex hormone that can increase the risk of uterine cancer. This risk increases with an increase in body mass index (BMI), which is the ratio of a person's weight to height. About 40% of uterine cancer cases are linked to obesity.
Race. White women are more likely to develop uterine cancer than women of other races/ethnicities. However, black women have a higher chance of developing advanced cancer. Black and Hispanic women also have a higher risk of developing aggressive tumors.
Diabetes. Women may have an increased risk of uterine cancer if they have diabetes, which is often associated with obesity
Other cancers. Women who have Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, or Ovarian Cancer have an increased risk of Uterine Cancer.
Radiation therapy. Women who have previous radiation therapy for another cancer in the pelvic area, which is the lower part of the abdomen between the hip bones, have an increased risk of Uterine Cancer.
Diet. Women who eat foods high in animal fat may have an increased risk of Uterine Cancer.
Different factors contribute to different types of cancer. Although there is no proven way to completely prevent this disease, you may be able to lower your risk.
Taking birth control pills. Birth control pills have a combination of estrogen and progesterone that are taken cyclically to produce a monthly menstrual period, which reduces the risk of an overgrowth of the uterine lining, especially when taken over a long period of time.
Using a progestin-secreting intrauterine device, which is a form of birth control.
Considering the risk of uterine cancer before starting HRT, especially estrogen replacement therapy alone. Using a combination of estrogen and progesterone for HRT may help lower risk.
Maintaining a healthy weight.
If you have diabetes, good disease management, such as regularly monitoring blood glucose levels, can lower risk.