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Uterine Cancer Risk Factors

There is no way to know for sure if you will get uterine cancer. Some women get it without being at high risk. However, several factors may increase the chance that you will get uterine cancer, including if you—

• Are older than 50.

• Are obese (have an abnormally high, unhealthy amount of body fat).

• Take estrogen by itself (without progesterone) for hormone replacement during menopause.

• Have had trouble getting pregnant, or have had fewer than five periods in a year before starting menopause.

• Take tamoxifen, a drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer.

• Have close family members who have had uterine, colon, or ovarian cancer

Uterine Cancer Prevention

There is no known way to prevent uterine cancer. But these things may reduce your chance of getting uterine cancer—

• Using birth control pills.

• Maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.

• Taking progesterone, if you are taking estrogen

Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

• Uterine cancer may cause vaginal discharge or bleeding that is not normal for you. Bleeding may be abnormal because of how heavy it is or when it happens, such as after you have gone through menopause, between periods, or any other bleeding that is longer or heavier than is normal for you. Uterine cancer may also cause other symptoms, such as pain or pressure in your pelvis.

• If you have bleeding that is not normal for you, especially if you have already gone through menopause, see a doctor right away. Also see a doctor if you have any other signs or symptoms for two weeks or longer. These things may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor.

Uterine Cancer Screening

There are no simple and reliable ways to test for uterine cancer in women who do not have any signs or symptoms. The Pap test does not screen for uterine cancer. The only cancer the Pap test screens for is cervical cancer.

Since there is no simple and reliable way to screen for any gynecologic cancers except for cervical cancer, it is especially important to recognize warning signs and learn what you can do to reduce your risk.

If you have symptoms or believe you may be at high risk for uterine cancer, your doctor may perform an endometrial biopsy or a transvaginal ultrasound. These tests can be used to help diagnose or rule out uterine cancer. Your doctor may do this test in his or her office, or may refer you to another doctor. The doctor might perform more tests if the endometrial biopsy does not provide enough information, or if symptoms continue.

Uterine Cancer Treatment

Types of Treatment

There are several ways to treat uterine cancer. The type of treatment a woman receives depends on the type of uterine cancer and how far it has spread. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.

• Surgery:.

• Radiation: Radiation uses high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to try to kill the cancer cells and stop them from spreading. The rays are aimed at the part of the body where the cancer is.

• Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances made by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream.

• Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may cause side effects, but these often get better or go away when chemotherapy is over. Chemotherapy drugs may be given in several forms, including pills or through an IV (intravenous) injection.


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