Risk factors for endometrial cancer include:
Excess Estrogen Exposure – Though estrogen is a normal and essential hormone for female development and maintenance of female sexual characteristics, estrogen can also stimulate the growth of endometrial cancer – particularly when exposure is prolonged or not balanced by another hormone called progesterone. Such exposure may result from the following:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Early age of start of menstruation
- Late age at menopause
- Infertility/never giving birth
- Estrogen only hormone replacement therapy
- Tamoxifen therapy (acts like estrogen in the uterus)
Diabetes and Hypertension – The association with obesity accounts for much of the risk but studies have found independent effects as well.
Family History – A history of colon, endometrial or ovarian cancer may point to Lynch Syndrome which places women at particularly high risk.
Most women with endometrial cancer are diagnosed at an early stage and have a very good prognosis. The risk factors for more aggressive variants are less clear but they may occur more commonly in black women. Uterine sarcomas occur in the uterine muscle or structural elements rather than the lining of the uterus and though very rare, are associated with a history of pelvic radiation and tamoxifen use.Family History – A history of colon, endometrial or ovarian cancer may point to Lynch Syndrome which places women at particularly high risk.