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Uterine Cancer

The uterus has been called a womb with a view-the connection between the womb and the outside world is the cervix.  We hear a lot about the uterus in terms of baby-making, and a lot about the cervix in terms of Pap-smear taking, but the discussions usually end there.  Most women do not realize that uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in American women, affecting about 31,000 women each year.

The most common location for cancer in the uterus is the endometrium, or uterine lining.  Many conditions which cause the uterine lining to grow rapidly can also predispose to uterine cancer.  These include obesity, polycystic ovaries, and a family history of uterine cancer.  The use of estrogen without progesterone can also increase the risk of uterine cancer.  The good news is that the combined use of estrogen and progesterone reduces a woman's risk of uterine cancer.  Similarly, birth control pill use for more than 5 years decreases a woman's lifetime risk of uterine cancer as well.

Women over 50 are at greatest risk of uterine cancer.  Warning signs to call to your doctor's attention are bleeding between periods or any postmenopausal bleeding.

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Created: 3/22/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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