Medically reviewed by Shawana S. Moore, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-B
Postmenopausal Women and Endometrial Cancer
Fluctuating hormones and higher levels of estrogen can increase the risk for endometrial cancer
What Is Endometrial Cancer?
Endometrial cancer is a type of uterine cancer that develops in the inner lining of the uterus and is the most common cancer that affects a woman’s reproductive system.
Who Is at Risk for Endometrial Cancer?
Anyone with a uterus can be diagnosed with endometrial cancer, but most cases are found in postmenopausal women.
Why Postmenopausal Women Are High-Risk
Although ovaries stop making estrogen and progesterone after menopause, estrogen is still made in fat tissue. This causes a hormone imbalance that leads to a higher risk for endometrial cancer.
Hormone therapy after menopause using estrogen alone without progesterone also increases the risk for endometrial cancer.
Some Common Risk Factors
Getting your period early or late menopause
Being overweight or having obesity
Having metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that put you at higher risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes
Having conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or taking medications, such as estrogen, that affect hormone levels
Never having been pregnant
Having Lynch syndrome
Did You Know?
Starting your period before age 12 or going through menopause later in life increases the risk of endometrial cancer because of the increased exposure to estrogen.
Some Common Signs & Symptoms
Bleeding or spotting between periods
Vaginal bleeding after menopause
Pain during sex
Pelvic pain or pressure
These are not all of the symptoms of endometrial cancer and they could be caused by other conditions. These symptoms could be easily overlooked, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any symptoms of concern as soon as they arise. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.
Methods of Diagnosis
Pelvic exam — An examination where a HCP carefully feels the uterus, vagina and ovaries to check for any abnormalities
Ultrasound — An exam that measures the endometrium thickness and uterus size
Tissue sampling —
Biopsy — A procedure that removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope
Hysteroscopy — The insertion of a thin, flexible tube with a light on it through the vagina so the HCP can view the lining of the uterus and take a tissue sample
Dilation & curettage (D&C) — A procedure to remove tissue samples from the uterus to examine for cancer cells
Surgery to remove the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes
Targeted drug therapy
Survival Rate Disparity
Although women overall have a 95% chance of surviving endometrial cancer , a study found that Black women have a 90% higher five-year mortality risk compared to white women.
Anatomy of the Uterus
The uterus is 3” long (in most non-pregnant women).
This resource was created with funding and support from Eisai Inc.