Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer

Uterine cancer is a cancer which develops in the womb (uterus). By far the most common type of uterine cancer comes from the inner lining of the womb, the endometrium. This is endometrial cancer.

What is it?

Women have a womb (uterus) and men don't. It is a pouch surrounded by muscle in the very lower part of a woman's tummy (abdomen). The womb is where babies develop and grow during pregnancy.

So cancer of the uterus is an illness that only women can get. It is also called endometrial cancer because the endometrium is the inner lining of the womb, and this is where the cancer usually starts. Other types of cancer of the uterus are rare and are not discussed in this leaflet.

Who gets it?

As already mentioned, this is something only women have to deal with. It tends to affect women in later life, after the menopause, although it occasionally affects younger women. It is a common type of cancer - indeed, it is the fourth most common cancer affecting women in the UK.

When should I see a doctor?

Women should visit a doctor for any unexpected bleeding from the vagina. Specifically, if you:

  • Have already had your menopause and stopped bleeding but then have a bleed, even if it is just a little bit of brown-ish discharge. Brown discharge is usually old blood, suggesting a light bleed.
  • Bleed between your periods.
  • Bleed after having sex.

Most of the time, abnormal bleeding does NOT turn out to be cancer, but it's always best to get it checked out. Better safe than sorry.

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Dr Mary Harding
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Louise Newson
Document ID:
4835 (v42)
Last Checked:
01 December 2015
Next Review:
30 November 2018

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.