Cancer of the womb (uterine or endometrial cancer) is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It’s more common in women who have been through the menopause.
Uterine cancer symptoms
The most common symptom of womb cancer is unusual (abnormal) bleeding from the vagina, although most people with abnormal bleeding do not have cancer.
It may start as light bleeding and a watery discharge, which may get heavier over time. Most women diagnosed with womb cancer have been through the menopause, so any vaginal bleeding will be unusual.
In women who have not been through the menopause, unusual vaginal bleeding may be:
- periods that are heavier than usual
- vaginal bleeding in between normal periods
Less common symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen (tummy) and pain during sex.
If womb cancer reaches a more advanced stage, it may cause additional symptoms. These include:
- pain in the back, legs or pelvis
- loss of appetite
uterine cancer causes
- Oestrogen levels after the menopause
- Reproductive history
- High levels of insulin
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Uterine cancer treatment
Surgery is often the main treatment for womb cancer. The best treatment will depend on your individual circumstances.
People with cancer should be cared for by a team of specialists.
The team often consists of a specialist cancer surgeon, an oncologist (a radiotherapy and chemotherapy specialist), a radiologist, a pathologist, a radiographer and a specialist nurse.
Other members may include a dietitian, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist. You may also have access to clinical psychology support.
When deciding which treatment is best for you, your healthcare professionals will consider:
- the type and size of the cancer
- what grade it is
- your general health
- whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body
- whether fertility is a matter of concern – this is rare because of the age that womb cancer usually occurs
They will discuss and recommend the best treatment for you based on these considerations. The final decision on which type of treatment you have, if any, is always yours.
Before going to hospital to discuss your treatment options, it can be useful to write a list of questions you would like to ask the specialist. For example, you may want to find out what the advantages and disadvantages of particular treatments are.