Uterus (endometrium)

Uterus Most cancers of the uterus arise from the lining of the womb called the endometrium which is shed monthly during a woman's reproductive life. Although the cervix is also part of the womb, cervical cancer is very different from uterine cancer.

The majority of uterine cancers are adenocarcinomas, of which there are three main types:

  • Endometrioid adenocarcinomas
  • Papillary serous carcinomas
  • Clear cell carcinoma

Incidence & Mortality

Nationwide there were 2397 new cases of uternine cancer in 2012.

Risk of diagnosisbefore age 75

Woman Women: 1 in 60

Causes/Risk Factors

The causes of uterine cancer are not fully understood. The endometrium is sensitive to oestrogens and other female sex hormones:

  • Reproductive and menstrual factors associated with an increased level of circulating oestrogens including: irregularities in ovulation and menstruation, an increased total lifetime number of menstrual cycles, or use of oestrogen only HRT are associated with an increased risk.
  • The main lifestyle factor known to be associated with increased risk is obesity and the habits that contribute to it such as a diet high in fat and alcohol and low physical activity. Obesity also contributes to diabetes and high blood pressure which, in turn, are associated with increased risk.



If the information on this website raises any questions or concerns relating to your cancer, please call Cancer Council on 13 11 20. Specialist cancer nurses staff the line Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm.