What Causes Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, originates in the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. The exact cause of uterine cancer is not fully understood, but several risk factors have been identified that may increase a person’s likelihood of developing the disease:

  • Hormonal Imbalance: An excess of estrogen in relation to progesterone is considered one of the primary risk factors for uterine cancer. Estrogen stimulates the growth of the endometrium, and if not adequately balanced by progesterone, it can lead to abnormal cell growth and an increased risk of cancer.
  • Age: The risk of uterine cancer increases with age, and it is most commonly diagnosed in women over the age of 50, especially after menopause.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese is associated with higher estrogen levels, which can contribute to the development of uterine cancer.
  • Endometrial Hyperplasia: This is a condition characterized by the excessive growth of the endometrium, often caused by hormonal imbalances. If left untreated, endometrial hyperplasia can progress to uterine cancer.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Long-term use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy, without progestin, can increase the risk of uterine cancer in women who still have a uterus.
  • Family History: Having a family history of uterine cancer or certain hereditary conditions, such as Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer), can increase the risk.
  • Personal History: Women who have had breast or ovarian cancer in the past may have a slightly higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, has been linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer, likely due to insulin resistance and higher insulin levels.
  • Tamoxifen Use: Tamoxifen, a medication used for breast cancer treatment and prevention, may slightly increase the risk of uterine cancer in some women.
  • Never Giving Birth: Women who have never been pregnant may have a higher risk of uterine cancer.

It’s important to remember that having one or more risk factors does not mean a person will develop uterine cancer. Likewise, not having any known risk factors does not guarantee that someone won’t develop the disease. Regular gynecological check-ups and early detection can significantly improve the prognosis for uterine cancer. If you have any concerns about your risk of uterine cancer or are experiencing symptoms such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, or unexplained weight loss, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.