Endometrial cancer originates in the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus that sheds with monthly menstrual periods). The most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, the American Cancer Society estimates that 54,870 new cases of cancer of the body of the uterus (uterine corpus) would be diagnosed in 2015 and 10,170 deaths would occur in the U.S.
Endometrial cancers which arise from the lining of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows during pregnancy) represent the majority of uterine cancers. Cancers that start in the supporting connective tissue (stroma) and muscle cells of the uterus are called uterine sarcomas, which are uncommon. Up to 8% of uterine body cancers are sarcomas, so the actual numbers for endometrial cancer cases and deaths are slightly lower than these estimates.
Uterine Cancer and Lynch Syndrome
Lynch syndrome is an inherited predisposition to cancer. Endometrial (uterine) cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy in the United States and more than 2,000 cases of endometrial cancer each year may have a hereditary cause. Learn more about the connection between uterine cancer and Lynch syndrome.
Role of the Gynecologic Oncologist
Gynecologic oncologists are trained in the comprehensive management of gynecologic cancer. As such, they coordinate care for women with uterine cancer from diagnosis, to surgery, to chemotherapy, through survivorship and palliative care at the end of life. They serve as captain of the entire cancer care team of medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and genetic counselors, among others. Seek a specialist near you.
Patients, Caregivers and Survivors
As part of the overview section on uterine cancer, learn general information, including risk factors and symptoms, and what to do if your doctor suspects you or your loved one has been diagnosed with uterine cancer. SGO also has a useful toolkit for uterine cancer survivors, as well as a video about staying healthy after a uterine (endometrial) cancer diagnosis. Additional resources have been developed to explain gynecologic cancer clinical trials and the phases involved.
Clinical Practice Guidelines
- SGO Clinical Practice Statement: The Role of Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping in Endometrial Cancer (SGO, November 2015)
- Practice Bulletin: Endometrial Cancer (SGO/ACOG, March 2015)
- Practice Bulletin: Lynch syndrome (SGO/ACOG, November 2014)
- Management of endometrial precancers: recommendations based on risk of endometrioid endometrial cancer (Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2012)
- Management of Women with Uterine Papillary Serous Cancer: A Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) Review (SGO, October 2009)
- Management of Women with Clear Cell Endometrial Cancer: A Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) Review (SGO, March 2009)
In October 2013 Choosing Wisely®, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, released SGO’s Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question with specific tests or procedures that are commonly ordered but not always necessary in gynecologic oncology. SGO’s Choosing Wisely now has a number of patient resources and is mentioned in various online reference materials related to gynecologic oncology.