Endometrial cancer has been on the rise in Canada over the past 20 years. People who are older and living with obesity are more likely to be diagnosed with endometrial cancer. However, it can occur in younger people as well.

Endometrial cancer has been on the rise in Canada over the past 20 years. People who are older and living with obesity are more likely to be diagnosed with endometrial cancer. However, it can occur in younger people as well.

The good news is that endometrial cancer may be detected early if you notice the warning signs and seek medical attention right away!

It may also be prevented in many cases, since we know of conditions that may place some people at a higher risk.

The most common first sign of endometrial cancer is:

Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

This is any vaginal bleeding after menopause in older people (post-menopausal bleeding),or abnormally heavy periods in younger people. It is also more common in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

The most common first sign of endometrial cancer is:

Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

This is any vaginal bleeding after menopause in older people (post-menopausal bleeding),or abnormally heavy periods in younger people. It is also more common in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

Warning Signs and Causes of Endometrial Cancer

Do you have the warning signs for endometrial cancer? Don’t ignore them!

Do your periods feel like a flood?

Talk to your doctor about whether you need an endometrial biopsy

Bleeding after menopause is never normal.

Talk to your doctor about whether you need an endometrial biopsy

Warning Signs and Causes of Endometrial Cancer

Do you have the warning signs for endometrial cancer? Don’t ignore them!

Do your periods feel like a flood?

Talk to your doctor about whether you need an endometrial biopsy

Bleeding after menopause is never normal.

Talk to your doctor about whether you need an endometrial biopsy

Premenopausal Endometrial Cancer

Do your periods feel like a flood?

Premenopausal Endometrial Cancer

Do your periods feel like a flood?

Unpredictable or heavy periods may be a symptom of endometrial cancer, and 5-30% of endometrial cancers happen in people before menopause.

Causes

Cancer is not the cause of all abnormal bleeding, but it is important to rule out.

Causes of abnormal bleeding can include:

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Pre-cancer or cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) or cervix (opening of the uterus)

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Hormonal treatments such as Tamoxifen or birth control

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Non-cancerous growths on the uterus or cervix, such as polyps or fibroids

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Infection of the uterus or cervix

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Symptoms and warning signs

Talk to your health care provider if:
Your periods are very spaced out, with more than 38 days between the start of one period to the start of the next period.
Your periods are very heavy, to the point that they are interfering with your health, well-being, and quality of life – for example, if you have low iron or symptoms of low iron such as dizziness
Your periods last for a long time: more than 8 days, especially if they are spaced out
You have random bleeding in between your normal periods
Your periods are heavy or prolonged, and are not improving in response to medical or hormonal treatment

When detected early, most conditions causing abnormal uterine bleeding (including cancer) can be successfully treated.

Causes

Cancer is not the cause of all abnormal bleeding, but it is important to rule out.

Causes of abnormal bleeding can include:

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null

Pre-cancer or cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) or cervix (opening of the uterus)

null
null

Hormonal treatments such as Tamoxifen or birth control

null
null

Non-cancerous growths on the uterus or cervix, such as polyps or fibroids

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null

Infection of the uterus or cervix

Symptoms and warning signs

Talk to your health care provider if:
Your periods are very spaced out, with more than 38 days between the start of one period to the start of the next period.
Your periods are very heavy, to the point that they are interfering with your health, well-being, and quality of life – for example, if you have low iron or symptoms of low iron such as dizziness
Your periods last for a long time: more than 8 days, especially if they are spaced out
You have random bleeding in between your normal periods
Your periods are heavy or prolonged, and are not improving in response to medical or hormonal treatment

When detected early, most conditions causing abnormal uterine bleeding (including cancer) can be successfully treated.

Postmenopausal Endometrial Cancer

Have you experienced any vaginal bleeding after menopause? This is never normal.

Postmenopausal Endometrial Cancer

Have you experienced any vaginal bleeding after menopause? This is never normal.

If you have had 12 months without your period and then experience bleeding or spotting again, it could be the first symptom of endometrial cancer.

What is menopause?

Menopause marks the end of your menstrual cycles and is defined as 12 months without a period. The average age at which menopause occurs is 51.

What should I do about bleeding after menopause?

Any bleeding after menopause, no matter how little, is never normal.

Any vaginal bleeding after menopause means you need to see a physician so that they can examine you and collect a biopsy of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to rule out cancer.

The good news is that if your bleeding is caused by an early cancer, prompt diagnosis and treatment often results in cure. Seeing your doctor at the first sign of any postmenopausal bleeding makes a difference!

Causes

Cancer will be found in 10% of cases of bleeding after menopause, so it is very important to rule it out.

When detected early, most conditions causing bleeding after menopause (including cancer) can be successfully treated.

The causes of bleeding after menopause include:

• Pre-cancer or cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) or cervix (opening of the uterus).
• Hormonal treatments (Tamoxifen, hormone replacement therapy)
• Thinning of the uterine or vaginal lining which can become fragile and prone to bleeding (genitourinary syndrome of menopause)
• Noncancerous growths on the uterus or cervix, such as polyps
• Infection of the uterus or cervix

Next Steps

Your primary care provider or gynecologist will:

Ask you questions about your health history.
Examine your vagina and cervix using a speculum tool and take a sample of your uterine lining, called an endometrial biopsy.
Discuss whether you need an endometrial biopsy. This test is done by placing a thin straw, called a pipelle, through the cervix and into the uterus to remove some cells. The cells are sent to a laboratory for examination.
Discuss whether you need an imaging test such as a pelvic ultrasound

Next Steps

Your primary care provider or gynecologist will:

Ask you questions about your health history.
Examine your vagina and cervix using a speculum tool and take a sample of your uterine lining, called an endometrial biopsy.
Discuss whether you need an endometrial biopsy. This test is done by placing a thin straw, called a pipelle, through the cervix and into the uterus to remove some cells. The cells are sent to a laboratory for examination.
Discuss whether you need an imaging test such as a pelvic ultrasound

Prevention of Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer is preventable in some people

Prevention of Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer is preventable in some people

Which conditions might increase my risk of endometrial cancer?

Some conditions that may increase your risk include:
Tamoxifen or certain hormonal treatments

Obesity – Obesity Canada defines obesity as a progressive chronic disease which is characterized by abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
Whether you have obesity by this definition or not, having excess fat can increase your risk of developing endometrial cancer (3-10 fold increase).

Diabetes

Older age

History of infrequent periods and/or polycystic ovary syndrome

Family history of endometrial cancer or genetic disorders such as Lynch syndrome (family history of colon, endometrial, or ovarian cancer)

How does endometrial cancer develop?

There are 2 hormones that regulate the growth of the lining of the uterus (endometrium

estrogen
progesterone

Conditions that cause an imbalance of these hormones, with higher levels of estrogen and lower levels of progesterone, can increase the risk of endometrial cancer when lining growth is no longer controlled or regulated.

How to prevent endometrial cancer?

Based on your unique risk factors, your doctor may recommend:

Increasing your physical activity levels
Maintaining a healthy weight
Treatments to correct the hormonal imbalance – like the birth control pill or intrauterine device (IUD)
Consultation with a genetics or cancer specialist if you have a geneticdisorder such as Lynch syndrome that increases your risk

If you have these risk factors and want to know more about how you may prevent endometrial cancer talk to your doctor about these concerns.

Treatment of Endometrial Cancer

Treatment of Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer is typically treated by removing the uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes, and often the ovaries as well.

This is called a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Your doctor may also recommend to remove some lymph nodes.

It is performed either by a minimally invasive approach (laparoscopic (“straight-stick”) or robotic surgery) or using an abdominal incision.

 

In some cases, patients require additional treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Other treatments can include hormone therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy alone, radiation therapy alone or clinical trials.

For more information, you can visit the following links:

Canadian Cancer Society:

English
Français

Alberta:

English

British Columbia:

English

Ontario:

English

Quebec:

English
Français

Saskatchewan:

English

Partner

Obesity Canada is the country’s leading obesity registered charity association for:
  • Health professionals
  • Policy makers
  • Canadians living with obesity
  • Researchers, trainees and students

 

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a prevalent, complex, progressive and relapsing chronic disease, characterized by abnormal or excessive body fat (adiposity), that impairs health.

Mission

Obesity Canada’s mission is to improve the lives of Canadians through obesity research, education, and advocacy.

FOLLOW OBESITY CANADA

Partner

Obesity Canada is the country’s leading obesity registered charity association for:
  • Health professionals
  • Policy makers
  • Canadians living with obesity
  • Researchers, trainees and students

 

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a prevalent, complex, progressive and relapsing chronic disease, characterized by abnormal or excessive body fat (adiposity), that impairs health.

Mission

Obesity Canada’s mission is to improve the lives of Canadians through obesity research, education, and advocacy.

FOLLOW OBESITY CANADA