Uterine cancer is cancer that forms in the lining of the uterus. It is the most common gynecologic cancer in the U.S. There are three layers in the uterus: the endometrium, the myometrium, and the serosa. Most uterine cancers are found in the endometrium, but some can be found in the myometrium.
Uterine cancers are categorized by the layer of the uterus in which they form. Cancers that originate in a certain layer of the uterus can spread to other layers.
Not much is known about the causes of uterine cancer, but some known risk factors are older age, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, hormone replacement therapy after menopause, and family history of uterine or colon cancer. Lynch Syndrome (HNPCC) is an inherited genetic mutation associated with a higher risk for colon and endometrial cancers.
Some tests are performed by primary care providers or OB/GYNs as part of routine screenings, while others are done after receiving abnormal results to learn more.
Staging is a measurement system based on the size of the tumor and how far it has spread in the body. Using the TNM system, all of the information from tests and examinations is then combined and assessed to determine the stage, from I (one) to IV (four). Generally, the higher the stage, the more serious the cancer.
(Tumor – node – metastasis system)
Cancer cells have formed and can be found in the endometrium or myometrium of the uterus.
Cancer cells have spread from the uterus to the stromal connective tissue of the cervix.
Cancer cells have spread to the serosa, adnexa, vagina, parametrium, and/or nearby lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread to the bladder mucosa and/or bowel, or has metastasized beyond the pelvic area.
The grade of an illness refers to how the cancer cells look when compared to normal cells. The lower the number, the more cancer cells look like the normal cells. This means the cancer is less likely to spread and may be easier to treat. Grade 3 looks very different from normal cells and is likely to grow and spread faster.
Surgery is usually necessary to learn how far the uterine cancer has progressed and to remove cancerous cells. Other treatments help to increase the effectiveness of surgery and prevent recurrence.