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What to know about endometrial cancer

Also known as endometrial carcinoma or uterine cancer, endometrial cancer occurs when the cells that line the uterus begin growing uncontrollably. Though the mortality rates are relatively low due to the high rate of early detection, it is a cancer that impacts nearly 70,000 people every year.

Because it is such a common occurrence, there are some key facts about endometrial cancer that can be helpful to note. In this blog, we will go over the early symptoms of endometrial cancer, the various risk factors, and the options that individuals have for pursuing treatment.

What are the first signs of endometrial cancer?

At its earliest stages, the symptoms of endometrial cancer can resemble many other conditions — but fortunately, through regular checkups, it is usually caught very early on. Early stage endometrial cancer symptoms typically include irregular bleeding and cramping in the lower abdomen. Because a routine Pap smear does not detect uterine cancer, it is important for individuals to discuss these symptoms with their doctor in case further testing is recommended.

Endometrial cancer risk factors

Though an endometrial cancer diagnosis can happen under many circumstances, there are several risk factors to be aware of. Around 95% of endometrial cancer cases occur in women over 40, and most cases occur in women past menopause. Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, an early first period, diabetes, high blood pressure, never experiencing a pregnancy, and experiencing infertility.

Endometrial cancer treatment options

After individuals are diagnosed with endometrial cancer, their care team will typically pursue treatment through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, or a combination of these. Surgery to remove the affected parts of the reproductive organs is the most common first-line endometrial cancer treatment, which is followed by chemotherapy and radiation when necessary. 

In addition to existing therapies, new endometrial cancer treatments are being researched daily through clinical trials — and these studies need patients to participate. If you want to learn more about what clinical trials are recruiting, click the button below to get started.