Endometrial / womb / uterus cancer

The exact cause of cancer of the womb isn't known, but there are certain things that can increase a woman's risk.

Risk factors include increasing age, increased body weight, diabetes and decreased physical activity, genetic factors and hormonal factors. Longer exposure to the hormone oestrogen can affect your risk of womb cancer.

Symptoms of womb cancer (endometrial cancer)

The most common symptom of womb cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding, for example:

  • bleeding after the menopause (even minimal) or bleeding in between periods
  • heavier periods than usual (if you haven't been through
  • the menopause)
  • a watery or bloody vaginal discharge.

Less common symptoms are pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, or pain during sex.

If you have any unusual vaginal bleeding, always see your GP about it. There are other conditions that affect the womb, such as fibroids (benign growths), which can also cause unusual vaginal bleeding.

Bleeding is one of the first signs of womb cancer, and the earlier womb cancer is picked up, the more likely it is to be cured. Even if you've had a normal cervical screening test (smear test) recently, it's important to have any bleeding checked. A smear test only takes cells from the neck of the womb (the cervix) so it only occasionally picks up womb cancer.

*Information provided by Macmillan cancer support