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Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer

Risk Factors | Screening and Diagnosis | Personalized Treatment | Additional Patient Support

Uterine cancer is the most common of the gynecologic cancers. Endometrial cancer, or cancer of the uterine lining, is the most common type of uterine cancer, while uterine sarcoma, or cancer arising from the muscle of the uterus, is more rare. The lifetime incidence of uterine cancer in the United States is about 3 percent and typically occurs in women after menopause.

The experienced specialists at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center combine the most advanced scientific knowledge and technology with a collaborative, personalized approach to care. Drawing from the diverse experience of physicians, surgeons, nurses, researchers and a host of other highly trained healthcare professionals, the Kellogg Cancer Center team places patients—and families—at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.

Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer Risk Factors

While there is no known cause of uterine cancer, some identified factors appear to increase a woman’s risk of developing a uterine cancer. They include:

  • High levels of natural estrogen
  • Infertility or never having children
  • First period beginning at an early age
  • Menopause starting at a late age
  • Estrogen-replacement therapy after menopause
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Family history of cancer (including uterine, colon, renal and others)

Women who fall into these risk categories should be closely monitored by their physician. Symptoms can include abnormal uterine bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, difficult or painful urination, or pelvic pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your physician.

Uterine Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

There is no standard method for screening for uterine cancer. However, annual gynecologic examinations, including a careful pelvic examination, can serve as a useful screening tool. Additionally, post-menopausal bleeding, irregular periods or bleeding between periods can be due to an endometrial cancer. In this case immediately contact your physician, who will take steps to evaluate the lining of your uterus.

Should your physician suspect uterine cancer, your doctor may perform a pelvic ultrasound and an in-office endometrial biopsy of the lining of the uterus or a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. If a diagnosis of uterine cancer is made, your physician then determines the severity or stage of the cancer, including whether it has spread within the uterus or to other areas of the body.

Personalized Uterine Cancer Treatment

The mainstay of uterine cancer treatment is surgical removal of the uterus and cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries, and pelvic and regional lymph node sampling. Surgery can be done through a traditional incision or through minimally invasive surgery, which involves small keyhole incisions and an advanced technology approach. When the cancer is still in its earliest stages, a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus, may be all that is required. In other cases, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or immunotherapy may also be recommended. In some cases, hormone therapy may be a course of uterine cancer treatment. Fertility-preserving treatment options are also available in carefully selected cases.

Our multidisciplinary team meets regularly in a multidisciplinary conference to discuss your case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. The team may include your gynecologic oncologistradiation oncologist, geneticist, pathologist, nutritionist, pharmacist, radiologist, social worker and researchers, all focused on you. This "meeting of the minds" provides critical input, resulting in an individualized care plan outlining the best course of action for your care.

Patients are at the center of this multidisciplinary team, and Kellogg staff arrange for them to be seen by their multidisciplinary team at one appointment, not only for their convenience but to provide a consensus on their course of treatment. Our use of one of the most advanced Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in the country enhances our open communication and promotes collaboration in our patient care.

Additional Patient Support

Kellogg Cancer Center’s unique services and resources assist patients and family members with a variety of challenges they may face from diagnosis, treatment and beyond. A wide array of support services are available to patients that include our integrative medicine services, financial advocacy and survivorship, to name a few.

For More Information

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2639.