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Uterine Cancer

Our Approach to Uterine Cancer Care

Uterine cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system. Uterine cancer often starts in the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. A woman’s uterus is the place where her baby grows during pregnancy. At the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network, our teams of specialists offer complete care for uterine cancer, from evaluation and diagnosis to treatment and supportive care. MaineHealth Cancer Care Network specialists offer the most advanced and comprehensive services for gynecological cancers, including uterine cancer.

Finding a Uterine Cancer Specialist

The list below shows which doctors may be involved in your cancer care. Select the type of specialist you're looking for to find a provider in your area.

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Risks, Signs & Symptoms

Any woman could develop uterine cancer, but there are some things that may make you more likely. Here are a few: 

  • Older age

  • Being extremely overweight

  • Having diabetes

  • Exposure to estrogen (women are exposed to increased estrogen if they start their periods at a young age, go through menopause at a late age, never get pregnant, or take estrogen containing hormonal medications)

  • Exposure to tamoxifen, which is a drug used to treat some types of breast cancer

  • Family history of uterine cancer

  • African-American ancestry

  • If you have had retinoblastoma (eye cancer), you are at a higher risk for uterine sarcoma

There are some common signs and symptoms of uterine cancer that you can watch out for. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, especially in a postmenopausal woman

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods

  • Pelvic pain

  • Watery or bloody discharge from your vagina

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • You or your doctor feel a growth or tumor in your vagina

Screening for uterine cancer is not done routinely. If your doctor feels that you are at particularly high risk, you can have samples of your uterus tested every year after you turn 35 years old.  Sometimes there are signs that may indicate uterine cancer on a routine PAP smear and further testing is done. Uterine cancer is usually diagnosed when patients experience symptoms and tell their doctor. Your doctor might do any of the following tests to decide whether you have uterine cancer:

  • Physical exam and health history review

  • Pelvic exam

  • Endometrial biopsy: testing a sample of your uterus lining

  • Imaging using an ultrasound, CAT scan or MRI

  • Blood tests

  • Hysteroscopy: using a small camera to look at the inside of your uterus

Treatment of uterine could include any of the following:

  • Surgery: removing your uterus, some of its lining or a tumor

  • Drug therapy

  • Radiation therapy

  • Hormone therapy

  • Immunotherapy

  • Palliative care: a supportive care that works to help reduce pain and side effects from a serious illness. It can be used while you are having treatment for that illness.