What Is Uterine Cancer?
Each year, approximately 42,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with uterine cancer - the most common cancer of the female genital tract and the fourth most common cancer in women.1
Uterine cancer forms in tissues of the uterus, which is a pear-shaped organ in the pelvis where a fetus grows. The cervix is at the lower, narrow end of the uterus, and leads to the vagina. Uterine cancer can appear in cells lining the uterus (endometrium) and in muscle or other tissues in the uterus (uterine sarcoma).
Signs & Symptoms of Uterine Cancer
Possible signs of uterine cancer include unusual vaginal discharge or pain in the pelvis (uterus pain). Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding or discharge not related to menstruation (periods)
- Bleeding after menopause
- Irregular bleeding in between menstrual cycles or after sexual intercourse
- A mass in the vagina
- Frequent, difficult or painful urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Increasing or different pelvic pain or cramping
- A thin white (or pink) watery discharge from the vagina
- Increased pelvic pressure, particularly if associated with changes in bladder or bowel patterns
Tests that examine the uterus are used to detect and diagnose uterine cancer. Some of the tests that may be performed include a physical exam and history, a pelvic exam, a Pap test (or Pap smear), colposcopy (looking at the cervix with a microscope), cervical biopsy, endometrial biopsy, ultrasound, dilation & curettage (D&C) and hysteroscopy.