Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer sometimes known as cancer of the womb, is when normal cells lining the womb change. Endometrial cancer is most commonly found in women over the age of 40 and rare in women under 35.

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What is Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer sometimes known as cancer of the womb, is when normal cells lining the womb change. Endometrial cancer is most commonly found in women over the age of 40 and rare in women under 35 and is the most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer accounting for around 13% of all cancers in women.

We work together to combine the highest levels of consultant-led care and patient choice with the most advanced knowledge and understanding of the disease and its forms.

Learn More About Endometrial Cancer

In the UK around 8,500 women per year are diagnosed with womb cancer. Generally, womb cancers begin in the lining of the womb (the endometrium). These types of cancers are often diagnosed early and treated successfully. Womb cancer isn’t infectious and you can’t pass it on to anyone else.

Types of endometrial or womb cancer

About 95% of womb cancers develop from glandular tissue in the endometrium and are called endometrial carcinomas or endometrioid adenocarcinomas. They are typically diagnosed early and are often successfully cured.

Less common types of womb cancer are, carcinosarcoma and papillary serous carcinoma, with a rarer example known as clear cell carcinoma.

Distinct from endometrial carcinomas, these types of endometrial cancer tend to grow more quickly but aren’t believed to be linked to oestrogen levels.

Uterine sarcoma is a further type of cancer that begins in the womb muscle.

There is no known cause or routine screening for endometrial cancer, although survival rates for endometrial cancer are quite high but recognition of the early signs is vital.

There are risks which can increase the chances of developing this form of cancer:

  • Menopause
  • Overweight
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  • Family history: Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC)
  • Never had children or been pregnant
  • Polycystic Ovaries


Some symptoms of endometrial cancer can be:

  • Bleeding following the menopause
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Heavier periods than normal
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pain in your lower abdomen or back of legs
  • Discomfort or pain during sex


Diagnosis depends on what type of gynaecological cancer is suspected, detection can be very difficult, especially in the early stages.

Pelvic examination, imaging tests and biopsies are all methods of determining cervical cancer, as well as a colposcopy exam and possibly diagnostic surgery. When a cancer is confirmed, the stage is determined (how far the cancer has spread to nearby tissue or organs) and a treatment plan developed. With all of the types of gynaecological cancer, early detection is critical.

The following tests can be carried out:

Transvaginal Ultrasound This is used to construct a picture of the tissues in your womb. During a Transvaginal Ultrasound a small metal ‘probe’, covered with gel is inserted into the vagina. The test may be a little uncomfortable but is not painful.

Hysteroscopy A hysteroscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a light at the end, is passed through the vagina and into the womb, allowing your doctor to examine the inside the womb and take a biopsy or tissue samples.

Biopsy This is where a small amount of tissue is taken from the womb during a hysteroscopy and examined under a microscope to detect if cancer cells are present.

D and C (Dilatation and Curettage) During a D and C the cervix and entrance to the womb are opened gently and samples of tissue are removed from the inner lining.

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Meet our expert consultants

Dr. Allison Hall

Consultant in Clinical Oncology

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Dr. Anoop Haridass

Consultant in Clinical Oncology

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Dr. Richard Griffiths

Consultant in Medical Oncology

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