Uterine Cancer

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  • What is Uterine Cancer?

    Uterine Cancer, also known as cancer of the womb, is cancer that arises in the uterus – a hollow organ about the size and shape of an upside-down pear.

    The bulk of the uterus is smooth muscle tissue, which is called the myometrium. The uterus sits low in the abdomen between the bladder and rectum and is held there lightly by muscle. It is joined to the vagina by the cervix, which is the neck of the uterus.

    There are several different types of cancers of the uterus depending on which cells the cancer affects and the part of the uterus in which it grows. Most cancers of the uterus arise in the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Other uterine cancers can also develop in the muscle layers of the uterus.

    Endometrial cancer: The most common type of cancer of the uterus is endometrial cancer. The endometrium is the lining of the womb. About 95% of endometrial cancers are adenocarcinomas, meaning the cancer is growing in the cells that make up glandular tissue.

    There are 3 main types of adenocarcinomas:

    • Endometrioid adenocarcinomas – majority of endometrial adenocarcinomas are this type. These cancers are often diagnosed at an early stage and so are usually treated successfully.
    • Papillary serous carcinoma – This is much less common with only about 5% being papillary serous carcinomas. This is a fast growing cancer that is more likely to come back than other types, even if it is caught early.
    • Clear cell carcinoma – Clear cell carcinoma of the endometrium is very rare. Only about 1 or 2 cases of uterine cancer is diagnosed as clear cell carcinoma per year.

    Uterine sarcoma: This type of cancer develops from cells in the muscle layer of the uterus, rather than within the uterus lining. They are a type of soft tissue sarcoma and are much less common than endometrial cancer.

    Soft tissue sarcomas are cancers of the supporting tissues of the body. This type of cancer tends to spread in the bloodstream to other parts of the body especially to the lungs. The treatment is different to the other types of uterine cancers.

    Leiomyosarcoma is the most common uterine sarcoma affecting the muscle wall.

    Cancer of the neck of the uterus (cervix): Although the cervix is considered part of the uterus, Cervical Cancer is very different from uterine cancer.

Cancer Statistics

  • 3,343

    new cases are estimated to be diagnosed in 2022

  • 83.3%

    is the five-year survival rate for uterine cancer in 2018

  • 65.1

    years is the median age at diagnosis

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Cancer in Australia 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

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