Endometrial cancer refers to cancer that originates in the uterus (also called uterine cancer). Anywhere from 90% to 95% of endometrial cancers begin in the glandular cells of the uterus and are referred to as adenocarcinomas. The remaining five to ten percent of endometrial cancers arise outside of the glandular cells. These cancers include uterine sarcomas, stromal sarcomas, malignant mixed mesodermal tumors, and leiomyosarcomas [1,2]. The information regarding risk factors and survival rates sited in this document refer to adenocarcinomas only. However, the statistics on incidence and mortality both at the state and national level (shown in figures 1, 2, and 3) refer to all types of uterine cancers. These divergences were impractical to remedy due differing data collection and reporting practices between organizations.
Lifetime risk of being diagnosed with endometrial cancer is about 1 in 38 (less than 3%). The 5-year survival rates vary depending on stage of diagnosis but when averaged together, 5-year survival is about 84% . Utah’s overall endometrial cancer incidence rate is slightly lower than the national rate (23.5 per 100,000 person-years vs. 24.3 per 100,000 person-years). When broken down into racial/ethnic categories, disparities exist between groups. White women experience a higher rate of endometrial cancer compared to black women, however, black women are more likely to die from endometrial cancer than white women. Women of Hispanic, American- Indian, Alaskan, Asian, and Pacific Island heritage experience lower rates of endometrial cancer than white and black women . Asian/Pacific Islanders in Utah do not follow this national pattern perfectly having the second highest rates of endometrial cancer. See figure 1 for details.
Risk factors for endometrial cancer include early menarche (before age 12), late menopause (after age 52), never having children and having very few children, obesity, family history of endometrial cancer, diabetes, gall bladder disease, high blood pressure, and a diet high in animal fats. Other risk factors include ovarian disease such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, endometrial hyperplasia, pelvic radiation therapy, estrogen replacement therapy, and tamoxifen use [1,2].
Endometrial cancer usually occurs after menopause and does not occur very often in younger women. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom associated with endometrial cancer but does always mean a woman has cancer. Often times there are no symptoms of the disease .
- American Cancer Society. Available Online at http://www.cancer.org. Retrieved on Dec 24, 2006.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services, Women’s Health Division. Available Online at http://www.womenshealth.gov. Retrieved on Nov 3, 2006.
- Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) by the National Cancer Institute http://seer.cancer.gov/fstats. Retrieved Jan 7, 2007.
- Utah’s Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health: Available Online at http://ibis.health.utah.gov. Retrieved on Dec 21, 2006.