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Cancer is a disease in which certain body cells don't function right, divide very fast, and produce too much tissue that forms a tumor. Cancer of the uterus is cancer in the womb, the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows during a woman's pregnancy. There are different types of uterine cancers. Two types are endometrial cancer and uterine sarcomas. In the United States, endometrial cancer is a common cancer of the female reproductive system. This type of cancer happens when cancer begins in the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium). Uterine sarcomas occur when cancer grows in the muscles or other supporting tissues in the uterus. Uterine sarcomas account for only a small portion of cancers of the uterus.
Some women who get uterine cancer have certain risk factors, or things in their life that cause them to have a higher chance of getting this disease. But there are women who get uterine cancer who do not have any of these high risk factors. Uterine cancer usually occurs after menopause. But it may also occur around the time that menopause begins. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of uterine cancer. Bleeding may start as a watery, blood-streaked flow that gradually contains more blood. Women should not assume that abnormal vaginal bleeding is part of menopause. If you have abnormal vaginal bleeding after menopause, talk with your health care provider.
For more information about uterine cancer: Cancer of the uterus, call womenshealth.gov at 800-994-9662 (TDD: 888-220-5446) or contact the following organizations:
Content last updated: July 16, 2012.