About Endometrial/Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States. When cancer starts in the uterus, it's called uterine cancer. The most common type of uterine cancer is endometrial cancer because it forms in the lining of the uterus called the endometrium. Most uterine cancers are found in women who are going through or who have gone through menopause.

Types of uterine cancer

About 95% of uterine cancers are adenocarcinomas; endometrioid cancer is the most common type of adenocarcinoma. There are many sub-types of endometrioid cancers, including:

  • Adenocarcinoma

  • Adenocanthoma

  • Adenosquamous

  • Secretory carcinoma

  • Ciliated carcinoma

  • Villoglandular adenocarcinoma

  • Uterine carcinosarcoma 

Uterine sarcomas make up about 3% of uterine cancers. This type of cancer is rare and starts in the muscle and supporting tissues of the uterus. Most uterine sarcomas are put into categories depending on the type of cell they start in. 

  • Uterine leiomyosarcoma - most common type. They start in the muscular wall of the uterus, also known as the myometruim, and grow and spread quickly.

  • Endometrial stromal sarcoma - these are rare and start in the supporting connective tissue of the endometrium.

  • Undifferentiated sarcoma - these cancers start either in the endometrium or myometrium, grow and spread quickly, and have a poor outcome.

Endometrial Cancer Stages

Stage 1 - the cancer is in the uterus and may also be in the glands of the cervix

  • 1A - the cancer is in the endometrium and may have spread less than 50% into the myometrium

  • 1B - the cancer has spread more than 50% into the myometrium

Stage 2 - the cancer has spread into the connective tissue of the cervix but it hasn't spread outside of the uterus

Stage 3 - the cancer has spread outside of the uterus but hasn't spread to the inner lining of the rectum or bladder

  • 3A - the cancer has spread to the outer layer of the surface and/or to the fallopian tubes or ovaries

  • 3B - the cancer has spread to the vagina or to the tissue around the uterus

  • 3C1 - the cancer has spread to pelvic lymph nodes but it hasn't spread to the inside of the bladder or rectum

  • 3C2 - the cancer has spread to lymph nodes around the aorta but it hasn't spread to the inside of the bladder or rectum

Stage 4A - the cancer has spread to the inner lining of the rectum and/or bladder

  • 4B - the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the groin area, the upper abdomen, the omentum, lungs, liver, or bones

References: 

1. American Cancer Society. What is Endometrial Cancer? (2019, March 27). Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrial-cancer/about/what-is-endometrial-cancer.html

2. American Cancer Society. What is Uterine Sarcoma? (2017, November 13). Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/uterine-sarcoma/about/what-is-uterine-sarcoma.html

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic Information About Uterine Cancer. (2019, August 09). Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/uterine/basic_info/index.htm