Endometrial Cancer has 10680 New Cases per Year

With about 10,680 new cases annually, malignant tumours of the uterine body (corpus or endometrial carcinoma) are the fifth most common cancer in women and the most common of the female genital organs. One in 50 women will develop cancer of the uterine corpus during their lifetime, and one in 200 will die from the disease.

Due to the good prognosis, the proportion of all cancer-related deaths is comparatively low at 2.9 percent. The relative five-year survival rate for uterine cancer in Germany is about 80 percent. The mean age of onset is 69 years.

… is also called endometrial cancer. Malignant tumours of the uterine body (corpus carcinoma, from Latin “corpus”: body) almost always originate in the lining of the uterus (endometrium), which lines the organ inside. Cancers of the uterine body are the second most common malignant disease of the female reproductive organs in Germany after breast cancer and the fourth most common form of cancer in women. 

… for the development of cancer of the uterine corpus must be considered, in addition to age, overweight, especially after the menopause, and the use of exclusively oestrogen-containing hormone preparations during and after the menopause. In contrast, taking “the pill” during the sexually mature period, especially when using a combined preparation with oestrogen and progestogen, protects against the development of carcinoma of the endometrium. Physical exercise and pregnancy also have a protective effect. Other risk factors are childlessness, an early first period (menarche), a late menopause (last period) or long cycles without ovulation. In addition, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, previous radiation treatment and hereditary factors play a role. The hereditary disease Lynch syndrome (HNPPC), in which bowel cancer occurs at an early age, is associated with an increased risk of cancer of the uterine corpus, ovarian cancer and other types of cancer.

… are mainly produced in the ovaries and fatty tissue and cause glandular cells to grow on the uterine lining. During the female menstrual cycle, the oestrogen effect after ovulation is reduced by progestins, the second type of female sex hormones. If pregnancy does not occur and the hormone levels drop again, this ultimately leads to the rejection of the mucous membrane (menstruation) and prevents degeneration.

Scientists see an important cause of cancer development in the hormonal change process during the menopause. During this phase of life, the body stops producing gestagens, but initially continues to produce oestrogens. A decisive amount of oestrogen is produced in the fatty tissue – depending on the degree of obesity. If oestrogens act on the endometrial cells for a long time, this continuing stimulus to divide can promote the development of a malignant tumour. This is also the case if only oestrogens are taken as hormone replacement during the menopause. If the oestrogen is continuously combined with a progestogen, as recommended in the guidelines, there is no increased risk of uterine cancer.

The most important early symptom of endometrial cancer is unusual bleeding from the vagina. Any bleeding after the menopause is particularly suspicious!

The following symptoms may also occur:

  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Difficulty passing urine or irregular bowel movements
  • Bloody or flesh-coloured, often foul-smelling discharge outside the menstrual cycle
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss

Such symptoms can also have completely harmless causes. Nevertheless, you should take the warning signs seriously and consult your gynaecologist to clarify the cause!

… is almost always at the beginning of treatment at initial diagnosis. The outcome of the initial surgery is one of the most important prognostic factors in endometrial cancer.

If you and your doctor decide that surgery is the best option for you, the following procedures may be recommended:

Open surgical technique

In a conventional open surgery, a long abdominal incision (incision) is made. The incision provides a direct view of the surgical field. The operation is performed with hand-guided instruments.

Conventional laparoscopic surgical technique

A special technique for performing surgery in which multiple, small incisions are made in the abdominal wall through which a laparoscope (endoscope used for laparoscopy) and other hand-guided instruments can be inserted to view the structures in the abdomen and pelvis and perform procedures on the affected organs.

Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery

Robot-assisted surgery involves operating through multiple, small incisions of less than 2 cm. From a console in the operating room, surgeons control a camera and robot-guided instruments to perform the procedure.

… refer to cancer treatments with drugs that are intended to kill the tumour cells or prevent them from growing. For endometrial cancer, this is the second treatment pilla