Endometrial cancer

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
The uterus, also known as the womb, is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman's abdomen, between the bladder and rectum. At the narrow, lower end of the uterus is the cervix. Because most uterine cancers occur in the inner layer of the uterus, called the endometrium (En-doe-mee-tree-um), cancer of the uterus is often called endometrial cancer. Symptoms of endometrial cancer can include bleeding between menstrual periods and excessive bleeding during periods. The most common symptom is abnormal bleeding after menopause. Bleeding may begin as a watery, blood-streaked liquid coming from the vagina. Later, this discharge may contain more blood. Cancer of the uterus usually doesn't occur before menopause, but around the time menopause begins. Endometrial cancer is seen mostly in women between ages 50 and 70. Risk factors for uterine cancer include being overweight, not having children, beginning menstruation early, or a late menopause. Most risk factors for endometrial cancer involve an imbalance between the hormones progesterone and estrogen. As with other cancers, early detection offers the best chance for a cure. A pelvic exam and yearly pap test can detect cancer at an early stage. For more information on endometrial cancer, talk with your healthcare provider.

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