Note: The information on cancer types on the ACRF website is not designed to provide medical or professional advice and is for information only. If you have any health problems or questions please consult your doctor.
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:
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.
new cases are estimated to be diagnosed in 2018
is the estimated five-year survival rate for uterine cancer
years is the median age of diagnosis
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Cancer in Australia 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
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