The uterus is a hollow organ in females located in the pelvis, commonly called the womb. The uterus functions to support fetal development until birth. The uterus is shaped like an upside down pear; the top is the fundus, the middle is the corpus, and bottom is the cervix.
Uterine cancer can start in different parts of the uterus. Most uterine cancers start in the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus). This is called endometrial cancer. Most endometrial cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make mucus and other fluids). Uterine sarcoma is an uncommon form of uterine cancer that forms in the muscle and tissue that support the uterus.
Symptoms of uterine cancer include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge
- Pain or difficulty when emptying the bladder
- Pain during sex
- Pain in the pelvic area
The following factors may raise a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer:
- Age – Uterine cancer most often occurs in women over 50
- Obesity – Fatty tissue produces additional estrogen, a sex hormone which can increase the risk of uterine cancer
- Genetics – Uterine cancers may run in families where colon cancer is hereditary
- Other health conditions – Women may have an increased risk of uterine cancer if they have had endometrial hyperplasia or if they have diabetes.
- Other cancers – Women who have had breast cancer, colon cancer or ovarian cancer may have inherited a genetic mutation (a change) that also causes an increased risk of uterine cancer.
- Tamoxifen – Women taking the drug tamoxifen to prevent or treat breast cancer have an increased risk of developing uterine cancer. However, the benefits of tamoxifen usually outweigh the risk of developing uterine cancer.
- Radiation therapy – Women who have had previous radiation therapy for another cancer in the pelvic area have an increased risk of uterine cancer.
- Estrogen – Longer exposure to estrogen and/or an imbalance of estrogen (women who started having their periods before age 12; women who take hormone replacement therapy after menopause, and women who have never been pregnant)
Clinical Information Related to Uterine Cancer and Medical Marijuana
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