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May 13, 2009

Endometrial Cancer :


Causes and Risks
The cause of endometrial cancer is unknown, but a significant factor seems to be prolonged exposure of the endometrium to the hormone estrogen. Menstruating women are exposed to estrogen every month. Thus, women who are at high risk for the disease are sometimes prescribed birth control pills to decrease their production of the hormone. In postmenopausal women, estrogen replacement, a common treatment, greatly increases the risk for endometrial cancer. But this risk can be reduced when progesterone, another hormone, is added to the estrogen. Women who are "on the pill" automatically decrease their risk of developing endometrial cancer, as do those who maintain their ideal body weight. Also at higher risk are menopausal women who have never been pregnant and those with a history of infertility, failed ovulations, irregular periods (menses), or irregular bleeding.

Facts

Cancer of the endometrium (the membrane lining the uterus) is the most common of the female reproductive tract cancers, ahead of ovarian and cervical cancer. It occurs mainly in women older than 50 and affects about 35,000 American women each year.

Prevention
Prevention of endometrial cancer involves maintaining ideal body weight, avoiding unnecessary estrogens and, if at high risk, being screened at menopause for early signs of endometrial changes that might lead to cancer.

Symptoms
The main symptom of endometrial cancer, abnormal bleeding, occurs early, a factor leading to early diagnosis. For this reason, the overall cure rate is high, 70 to 80 percent.

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