What Is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer is the most common cancer of a woman’s reproductive system. The cancer begins when normal cells in your uterus begin to change, grow uncontrollably and form a mass of cells called a tumor. If this tumor is found to be malignant, you have uterine cancer. 

Your uterus is located between your bladder and rectum. It’s also called the womb, and is where a baby grows when you are pregnant. The uterus has three sections: the cervix (the narrow, lower section), the corpus (the broad, middle section) and the fundus (the dome-shaped, top section). A cancerous tumor can spread to other parts of your body.

Types of uterine cancer

Each type of uterine cancer evolves differently and requires distinct approaches to treatment. Cervical cancer develops in the cervix and is not considered to be a type of uterine cancer. The two primary types of uterine cancer include:

  • Endometrial cancer: Endometrial cancer occurs in the lining of your uterus, which is called the endometrium. It is the most common type of uterine cancer and accounts for more than 95 percent of diagnosed cases. Endometrial cancer primarily affects postmenopausal women and is rare in women under age 45
  • Sarcoma: Sarcoma forms in the supporting muscle tissues of your uterus. It accounts for just about 2 to 4 percent of uterine cancers

Uterine cancer often does not cause advanced signs or symptoms. Annual pelvic exams are key and allow your physician to detect signs of uterine cancer early, when it is most treatable. When detected in an early stage, uterine cancer can often be cured. Take an active role in your health and have regular pelvic exams.