What increases my risk for endometrial (uterine) cancer?

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health
Estrogen taken alone increases the risk of endometrial cancer in a woman who still has a uterus. It is inaccurate to say hormones increase the risk of endometrial cancer. When estrogen and progesterone are taken together on a daily basis, the risk of endometrial cancer is actually lower than not taking hormones at all.
The risk factors for endometrial (uterine) cancer include anything that causes excess estrogen and not enough progesterone to balance it out. Watch OB/GYN specialist Lauren Streicher, MD, discuss the main risk factors for uterine cancer.
Sharyn N. Lewin, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Your risk for developing uterine cancer increases with your age especially after menopause (50 or older). Other factor also contribute to your risk:
  • Obesity
  • Hormones: Estogen pills, supplements or creams that do not contain progesterone
  • Non-hormonal drugs: Tamoxifen
  • Family or personal history of colon-rectal, pancreas and ovarian cancers (Lynch Syndrome)

Eating fatty foods could put you at risk for uterine cancer. Women who are overweight have a greater amount of estrogen in their bodies, and excessive estrogen can cause uterine cancer. The more times you have had your period, the more estrogen you have in your body as well, so women who have menstruated for many years are at risk for uterine cancer. This means that if you started your period at an early age or went through menopause at a late age, you have been exposed to a lot of estrogen that could lead to uterine cancer. Genetics can also play a role in the development of uterine cancer, so you may be at risk if others in your family have had the disease.

Continue Learning about Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

Starting in the lining of a womans uterus, endometrial cancer is caused when your body has a hormonal imbalance.When you have too much of the hormone estrogen relative to the hormone progesterone, the lining of the uterus grows to...

o thick and allows tumors to grow. The hormonal imbalance may be caused by using estrogen to treat menopause or by having ovarian tumors that produce estrogen. Obesity also increases your risk; fat cells make extra estrogen that isnt balanced out with more progesterone. Hormonal birth control can reduce your risk of endometrial cancer, although keep in mind it has risks of its own. Studies show you can remain protected from this cancer for up to 10 years after you stop taking hormonal birth control. Call your doctor if you have vaginal bleeding or unexplained weight loss. When found early, endometrial cancer is very treatable. Aggressive treatments may include removal of parts of the female reproductive system, including the uterus and ovaries.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.