At UVA Health, you'll find experts in treating all uterine cancer types. The most common type is endometrial cancer. It starts in the uterus lining. Uterine sarcoma is cancer in the uterus muscle. It's rare but can be the result of breast cancer treatment.
Learn more about the uterine cancer types and who's at risk.
2 Main Endometrial Uterine Cancer Types
There are two main types of endometrial cancer.
Most Common: Type 1
It's often found only inside the uterus. We can prevent type 1 endometrial cancer. We do this by treating a precancer condition called endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia (EIN). It occurs when parts of the uterine lining grow too thick and show changes that look like cancer.
Tell your doctor right away about any unusual uterine bleeding (especially after menopause). This could be a sign of precancer.
Less Common: Type 2
Type 2 uterine cancer grows faster than type 1. These cancers often have spread outside the uterus by the time they're found.
Who's at Risk for Endometrial Cancer?
Most often, endometrial cancer occurs in women past their child-bearing years. Main risk factors include:
- Being overweight
- Starting periods at an early age
- Having high blood pressure
- Having diabetes
- Having polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Taking estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) for treatment of menopause symptoms
- Having a diet high in animal fat
- Taking tamoxifen for breast cancer or taking estrogen alone (without progesterone)
- Hereditary cancer syndromes such as Lynch syndrome
Fatty tissue produces estrogen. This hormone fuels endometrial cancer. This is why obesity (50 or more pounds over a healthy weight) is endometrial cancer's biggest risk factor.
Rare Cancer Type: Uterine Sarcoma
We also have experts experienced in diagnosing and treating uterine sarcoma. Uterine sarcoma is a cancer that forms in the muscles of the uterus. It can also grow in the tissues that support the uterus.
Are You At Risk for Uterine Sarcoma?
This kind of cancer is very rare. Two factors can mean you're at high risk. Take extra care if you've:
- Had radiation to your pelvis
- Taken tamoxifen for breast cancer
You can manage this risk. Get a pelvic exam each year. Over time, cancer spreads and it becomes harder to treat. That's why it's important not to ignore concerning uterine sarcoma symptoms.
Do You Have Uterine Sarcoma Symptoms?
You'll want to tell your provider if you have any of these possible uterine sarcoma symptoms:
- Unexpected bleeding
- A mass in your vagina
- Pain or a feeling of fullness in your belly
- Frequent peeing
We can't always tell what's wrong just based on symptoms. To know exactly the type and stage of cancer, you'll likely need more tests. A diagnosis often requires a:
- Pelvic exam
- Pap test
- Biopsy or removal of your uterus tissue
Learn more about endometrial & uterine cancer treatment options at UVA Health.