Uterine cancer is a cancer of the uterus. It primarily affects women after menopause. Uterine cancer develops from abnormal cells in the uterine lining (endometrium). Therefore, the disease is also known as endometrial cancer.
The uterus consists of the corpus and cervix. Different types of cancer can develop in both parts. Cancer of the cervix is discussed in the cervical cancer section.
Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, occurs in the mucous membrane cells of the corpus. Around 900 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Switzerland every year. Women who have gone through menopause are primarily affected by uterine cancer, and the risk increases as you age.
The causes of uterine cancer are largely unknown. Certain factors seem to increase the risk. They include excessive body weight, diabetes, early menarche, childlessness and late menopause. Hormone therapy with oestrogen and no additional gestagen is also associated with an increased risk.
Uterine cancer causes very few symptoms in its early stages. Signs of cancer are unusual bleeding during menopause, after menopause, or malodorous vaginal discharge.
Uterine cancer is diagnosed with an ultrasound examination of the uterus. A uterine endoscopy in which tissue samples are taken is usually carried out as well.
The disease is usually treated by surgically removing the entire uterus. The ovaries are also often removed at the same time. Partial removal of the uterus is sometimes adequate – however, only if the cancer is in a very early stage, i.e. still clearly confined. You can find out more about the surgical treatment options in the uterine surgery section.