Endometrial cancer: Key facts

In the United States, endometrial cancer (which originates in the lining of the uterus) is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, and mainly affects postmenopausal women aged 60 and older.

Endometrial cancer (sometimes called uterine cancer), is very treatable if detected early and can often be eliminated before tumors spread.

As we prepare for this week’s luncheon, A Conversation About Women’s Health Hosted by Carol Van Andel, here are some key facts about endometrial cancer (source: American Cancer Society and Mayo Clinic):

  • Women older than 60 are at the greatest risk of developing endometrial cancer
  • Women who began menstruating before age 12 or who start menopause later have an increased risk.
  • Changes in the body’s hormonal balance plays a role, specifically when something (such as a disease or other condition) causes the amount of estrogen to increase but not the level of progesterone (read more here)
  • Some of the most common symptoms include vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge, particularly after menopause
  • Pelvic pain, a mass (tumor), and unexpected weight loss are also common symptoms
  • Family history (having close relatives with endometrial or colorectal cancer), a previous diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer; diabetes; and polycystic ovary syndrome all may increase risk

Women who may be at risk are encouraged to talk to their doctor.

For those interested in learning more, next week cancer scientists Hui Shen, Ph.D., and Ronald Chandler, Ph.D. will be discussing advances in ovarian, breast, and endometrial cancer research. The luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Van Andel Institute. The event is hosted by Carol Van Andel and will be moderated by WOTV 4’s Maranda.

Tickets are $50 and may be purchased online. 100 percent of proceeds from the event support research at the Institute. Contact Sarah Rollman at 616.234.5712 or sarah.rollman@vai.org for more information.

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) conducts basic and translational research into the epigenetic, genetic and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases. Although VARI is involved in clinical trials, please note that VARI does not treat patients and clinical trials for patients are not conducted at VARI. VARI also does not give medical advice. Patients looking for information or clinical trials may want to consider resources found