Women’s Health: Endometrial cancer

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- During September, NEWS10 spoke with doctors in the Capital Region about different gynecological cancers. Christina Arangio discussed primary peritoneal cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer with doctors from Ellis Medicine and Saint Peters Health Partners.

Endometrial cancer most often affects postmenopausal women. Endometrial and uterine cancer are used interchangeably, says Women’s Cancer Care Associates Gynecologic Oncologist, Dr. Heidi Godoy.

Endometrial cancer grows in the endometrium or lining of the uterus. It’s referred to as carcinoma and is a common diagnosis for women. Uterine or endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed through an endometrial biopsy. The procedure is done in a physician’s office and typically takes about 10 minutes, explains Dr. Godoy.

The majority of endometrial cancer cases are detected during stage one because women often experience abnormal or irregular bleeding, an early warning sign. Women with postmenopausal bleeding, no matter how much or how little, after not having a period for a year or longer, should see their physician, Dr. Godoy says.

Women who notice a change in their regular menstrual cycle, including no period or irregular bleeding outside of a normal period and prolonged bleeding should also be brought to the attention of a physician, Dr. Godoy says.

Dr. Godoy explains the difference between endometrial cancer and sarcoma of the uterus

Dr. Godoy says more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with endometrial cancer every year, unlike uterine sarcoma which causes a tumor to grow in the uterine muscle. It is much rarer affecting approximately three to four thousand women a year, says Dr. Godoy.

Risk factors for endometrial/uterine cancer

  • Age
  • Starting menstruation at an earlier age
  • Hormone levels
  • Being overweight
  • Genetics
  • No pregnancies
  • Hormone therapy for breast cancer
  • An inherited colon cancer syndrome

*Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Mayo Clinic

Dr. Godoy gives a general overview of risk factors for endometrial cancer

Being sedentary puts women at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease as Dr. Mehmet Oz explained in a previous Women’s health story, says Dr. Godoy. It also puts women at an increased risk for endometrial cancer.

Dr. Godoy explains why being sedentary increases a woman’s risk for endometrial cancer

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