Overview of Uterine Cancer and Endometrial Cancer

Uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer (i.e., cancer that originates in female reproductive system). It develops in the body of the uterus, or womb, which is a hollow organ located in the lower abdomen. The wall of the uterus is comprised of an inner lining (called the endometrium) and an outer layer of muscle tissue (called the myometrium). Endometrial cancer, which originates in the inner lining of the uterus, accounts for about 90% of uterine cancers. Uterine sarcoma originates in the myometrium and accounts for less than 10% of uterine cancer cases.

Incidence & Prevalence of Uterine Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), uterine cancer is the most common type of gynecologic cancer. In the United States, approximately 37,000 cases are diagnosed and about 6000 women die from the disease each year.

Incidence of uterine cancer increases after menopause and approximately 75% of cases are diagnosed in postmenopausal patients. The average age at diagnosis is about 60 years. In the United States, endometrial cancer is more common in Caucasian women and uterine sarcoma is more common in African American women.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 15 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 24 May 2011