Awareness and Prevention
Since the mid-2000's the number of women that have been diagnosed with uterine cancer has increased by about 1% every year. This year alone (2021), about 66,570 women will be diagnosed in the United States and 12,940 of those women will die from uterine cancer. In fact, from 2009 to 2018, uterine cancer deaths increased by about 2% each year.
Endometrial risk factors affect the balance between estrogen and progesterone in the body. This inbalance causes abnormal growth in the endometrium until it develops into cancer.
There is no standard or routine screening test for endometrial cancer, which is why you should listen to your body and follow up if you have any of the common signs and symptoms outlined below.
• Obesity - Excess body fat spikes estrogen levels in women and correlates to a higher cancer risk
• Endometrial Hyperplasia - the lining of the uterus becomes abnormally thick
• Age - Uterine cancer most often occurs in women over 50. The average age of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer is 60
• Type 2 Diabates - Diabetes is more common in people who are overweight and less active, which are also a risk factor for endometrial cancer
• Early Menarche/ Puberty - Young women who start menstruating before 12
• Late Menopause - Women who begin menopause after 53
• Heredity - Women with close relatives that have or had endometrial cancer have an increased risk of contracting endometrial cancer
• Lynch Syndrome - A type of inherited cancer syndrome associated with a genetic predisposition to different cancer types and increased risk of developing endometrial (uterine) cancer
• Never Been Pregnant - women who have not given birth carry a two to three times higher risk of getting endometrial cancer
Signs and Symptoms
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding/discharge
• Postmenopausal bleeding
• Pelvic pain/pressure
bleeding (Bleeding between periods)
Endometrial Cancer Prevention
Noticing your risk factors may help prevent and lower your chance of developing endometrial cancer. Here are some examples of things you can do to help lower your risks:
Get to a healthy weight an maintain that healthy weight because it lowers your risk of getting endometrial cancer. Women who are obese are more likely to get this type of cancer compared with women who have a healthy weight
Getting regular physical activity / excercise is linked to lower risks of endometrial cancer, plus it helps you maintain a healthy weight
Discuss the pros and cons of hormone therapy with your doctor if you're thinking about using estrogen for symptoms related to menopause. How will that affect your risk of endometrial cancer?
Get treated for endometrial problems such as pre-cancerous conditions like endometrial hyperplasia. Most endometrial cancers are known to develop from less serious changes in the endometrium
Talk to your doctor if you have Lynch syndrome as it has a very high risk of endometrial cancer
Did you know...
Obesity has a strong association with the development of endometrial cancer as compared to any other cancer type?
A survey of 1,545 healthy women showed that 58% are not aware that obesity increases your risk for developing endometrial cancer
57% of endometrial cancers in the U.S. are thought to be attributed to being overweight and obese
A study done by the American Institute for Cancer Research found that when your BMI increases by 5 units, there is a 50% increase in the risk of developing endometrial cancer
1. American Cancer Society. Can Endometrial Cancer be Prevented? (2019, March 2017). Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrial-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/prevention.html
2. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Uterine Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention. (2020, September). Retrieved March 31, 2021, from https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/uterine-cancer/risk-factors-and-prevention
3. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Uterine Cancer: Statistics. (2021, February). Retrieved March 31, 2021, from https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/uterine-cancer/statistics#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20people%20diagnosed%20with%20uterine%20cancer%20has%20increased,year%20since%20the%20mid%2D2000s.
4. Onstad, M. A., Schmandt, R. E., & Lu, K. H. (2016). Addressing the Role of Obesity in Endometrial Cancer Risk, Prevention, and Treatment. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 34(35), 4225–4230. https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2016.69.4638