Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer | Cancer


Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

Our team includes leading experts in uterine cancer detection and treatment. Experienced gynecologic oncologists, surgeons and radiation oncologists work together to provide world-class care.

Medically reviewed by Hui Amy Chen, M.D. on Dec. 07, 2023.

Holding hands of healthcare worker and a patient.

What Is Endometrial Cancer?

Endometrial cancer is a type of uterine cancer that occurs in your uterus (womb), part of the female reproductive system. Your uterus is a hollow organ in your pelvis where a pregnancy develops.

More than 90% of uterine cancers start in the endometrium, or inner lining of the uterus. Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system. It most often affects females who have gone through menopause.

If you’re facing a uterine cancer diagnosis, you’re in expert hands at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our Division of Gynecologic Oncology focuses exclusively on care for female reproductive cancers. We offer every specialty you need for comprehensive care in a comforting environment.


Endometrial Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of endometrial cancer vary from person to person and can be hard to detect. If you notice any symptoms, see your provider promptly for an accurate diagnosis.

Early-Stage Symptoms

When endometrial cancer is in the early stages, you may notice:

Later-Stage Symptoms

If the cancer has grown or spread, symptoms may include:

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full easily
  • Mass (lump) in your pelvis
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

Endometrial Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Uterine cancer occurs when cells in your uterus become damaged and begin to grow, divide and multiply out of control. While experts don’t know exactly why this cell damage occurs, they have identified factors that make it more likely to happen.

Many risk factors for endometrial cancer are related to hormones, especially higher estrogen levels. Risk factors include:


Endometrial cancer is more common in females over age 45.

Breast or Ovarian Cancer

Females with certain types of ovarian cancer may have higher estrogen levels, increasing the risk of endometrial cancer.

Estrogen Therapy Without Progestin

You may have a higher risk of endometrial cancer if you take estrogen-only hormone therapy after menopause.

Excess Weight

Endometrial cancer is twice as common in females who are overweight and three times as common in females who are obese.


If colorectal cancer runs in your family, you may be more likely to get uterine cancer. People with Lynch syndrome are also more likely to develop uterine cancer.

More Periods in Your Lifetime

Women who started periods before age 12 or went through menopause later in life are more likely to develop uterine cancer. Your risk is also higher if you’ve never been pregnant.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Females with PCOS may be more likely to get endometrial cancer because it raises estrogen levels. 

Tamoxifen Use

Taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen after menopause could raise your risk of endometrial cancer. The risk is low, however, and the benefits of treating breast cancer are often greater than the risks.


Diagnosis and Testing for Endometrial Cancer

If you have symptoms of endometrial cancer, UC Davis gynecologists start with a pelvic exam. We discuss your medical history and concerns to get a clear picture of your health.

After your exam, we may perform an endometrial biopsy or dilation and curettage (D&C). These procedures involve inserting a small instrument through your vagina and cervix to collect a small sample of tissue from your uterus. Then, we send the tissue to our state-of-the-art laboratory for analysis.

When needed, we also perform imaging tests, such as transvaginal ultrasound. These tests give us additional information about the size and location of any tumors.  

Treatments for Endometrial Cancer at UC Davis Health

Treating endometrial cancer requires a multidisciplinary care team. Our specialists work together to develop a care plan that meets your needs. You receive comprehensive care from skilled gynecologic oncologists, surgeons, radiation therapists and gynecologic pathologists. At our center, you have a team of experts on your side from start to finish.


Most cases of endometrial cancer require surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) and nearby organs like the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Often times, our surgeons will also be checking lymph nodes for cancer, with sentinel lymph node mapping and biopsy. Our gynecologic surgeons are highly experienced in minimally invasive methods, such as robotics or laparoscopic surgery, that result in less pain and a faster recovery.


Our gynecologic oncologists work closely with other specialists to create an effective chemotherapy regimen. You receive personalized care to be sure the medication works for you, and we help you minimize side effects.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy includes medications that slow uterine cancer cell growth by blocking their estrogen supply. Depending on your needs, we may prescribe this treatment alone or with other therapies to optimize your results.


Immunotherapy medications help your immune system find and destroy cancer cells. Our experienced team chooses the best medicines for you based on the tumor type and location.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses intense beams of energy to destroy cancer cells. Our Department of Radiation Oncology includes leading physicians and physicists who offer the most advanced radiation therapy options for endometrial cancer.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapies attack specific genes or proteins in a cancer cell without harming healthy cells. Our specialists are at the forefront of the newest targeted therapies, and we tailor your treatment to your genetics.


Endometrial Cancer Prevention

It is not always possible to prevent uterine cancer. But you can lower your risk if you:

See Your Provider Regularly

Be sure to get regular checkups and health screenings. Tell your provider if you notice any changes to your health, including abnormal bleeding, discharge or abdominal pain.

Work Toward a Healthy Weight

Losing excess weight can help prevent uterine cancer. Eating a healthy diet and exercising can help you shed pounds and lower your risk of several types of cancer.

“Uterine Cancer: Statistics,” American Society of Clinical Oncologists, https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/uterine-cancer/statistics

“Key Statistics for Endometrial Cancer," American Cancer Society, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/endometrial-cancer/about/key-statistics.htm 

On average, people are

60Years old when diagnosed with endometrial cancer

There are more than

600KSurvivors of endometrial cancer in the U.S.

Source: American Cancer Society: Key Statistics for Endometrial Cancer

Request an Appointment

Our cancer specialists provide thorough evaluations and personalized treatment plans. Learn more about how to make an appointment at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.



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