Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer

Uterine cancer is a cancer that forms in the tissue lining the uterus (the small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis in which a fetus develops). Most endometrial cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).

Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium.

Stages of Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer:

Stage I: In stage I, cancer is found in the uterus only. Stage I is divided into stages IA, IB, and IC, based on how far the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IA: Cancer is in the endometrium only.
  • Stage IB: Cancer has spread into the inner half of the myometrium (muscle layer of the uterus).
  • Stage IC: Cancer has spread into the outer half of the myometrium.

Stage II: In stage II, cancer has spread from the uterus to the cervix, but has not spread outside the uterus. Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB, based on how far the cancer has spread into the cervix.

  • Stage IIA: Cancer has spread to the glands where the cervix and uterus meet.
  • Stage IIB: Cancer has spread into the connective tissue of the cervix.

Stage III: In stage III, cancer has spread beyond the uterus and cervix, but has not spread beyond the pelvis. Stage III is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC, based on how far the cancer has spread within the pelvis.

  • Stage IIIA: Cancer has spread to one or more of the following:
    • the outermost layer of the uterus; or
    • tissue just beyond the uterus; or
    • the peritoneum.
  • Stage IIIB: Cancer has spread beyond the uterus and cervix, into the vagina.
  • Stage IIIC: Cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the uterus.

Stage IV: In stage IV, cancer has spread beyond the pelvis. Stage IV is divided into stages IVA and IVB, based on how far the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IVA: Cancer has spread to the bladder and/or bowel wall.
  • Stage IVB: Cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the pelvis, including lymph nodes in the abdomen and/or groin.

Treatment of Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer:

Three types of standard treatment are used:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormone therapy

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

  • Chemotherapy

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.

Search for clinical trials in Georgia.

Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's PDQ Database: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/endometrial/. (Accessed July 2016)