A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop uterine cancer with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of uterine cancer. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Some factors like age, cannot be changed. Uterine cancer is more common in women aged 50 years and older. Risk increases with age.
Other risk factors are related to levels of certain hormones in the body. In particular, increased levels estrogen and decreased levels of progesterone. There are a number of conditions or factors that can make this happen.
Medical Conditions and Treatments
Medical conditions or treatments that may increase the risk of uterine cancer include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome—increases estrogen and androgen (a male hormone), and decreases progesterone
- Obesity and related conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure
- History of breast or ovarian cancer
- Tamoxifen use—a drug used to treat and prevent breast cancer
- Radiation therapy to or near the pelvis
Other factors that may increase risk include:
- No history of pregnancy
- Menstruation that starts at early age or later age for menopause—creates longer exposure to the effects of estrogen
Increased estrogen can lead to an abnormal growth of cell. This is called endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia (EIN). EIN cells can grow into uterine cancer. Treatment may include hormonal therapy or surgery. Tests may also be done to see if cancer has developed.
Genetic and Family History
Having an immediate family member with a history of uterine cancer increases the risk uterine cancer.
Lifestyle factors that increase uterine cancer risk include:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- High fat, high calorie diet
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2017 -
- Update Date: 12/04/2017 -