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Irregular bleeding, or bleeding between periods, is often an early warning sign of uterine cancer.
Uterine cancer (also known as endometrial cancer) begins in the cells of the inner lining of the uterus and often affects women over age 40.
The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ where fetal development occurs. It is divided into two parts. The upper part of the uterus is called the body, and is where uterine cancer develops. A different type of cancer, cervical cancer, develops in the lower part of the uterus called the cervix.
Uterine cancer is often detected early because of abnormal bleeding, including bleeding between periods or bleeding after menopause. Pelvic pain is also an early warning sign.
Though there is no known cause for uterine cancer, some factors can increase a woman’s risk, such as:
Some factors that may decrease your uterine cancer risk include:
Your doctor may rely on one or more tests, such as a pelvic exam, ultrasound, hysteroscopy or biopsy to help in detecting the thickness of the inner lining, aid in diagnosis and, if diagnosed, determine the stage of cancer.
The most common form of treatment for uterine cancer often involves surgery where the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and surrounding tissue are removed (hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy).
Other treatment options may involve radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted drug therapy.
With uterine cancer, early detection is key. Anyone who has abnormal bleeding or spotting should go to the doctor.
At Edward-Elmhurst Health, our cancer experts will partner with you every step of the way. Learn more about our cancer care.
Learn more from Healthy Driven Chicago:
Why women need to put their health first
Get more from your well-woman checkup
Colonoscopy: What to expect before, during and after
Tips to stay healthy during pregnancy
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