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 vaginal bleeding
after menopause. For more information, click here.
Created: 10/22/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.