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Uterine Cancer Risks and Prevention

Women who get uterine cancer are more likely than other women to have certain risk factors for the disease. A risk factor is something that increases the chance of developing a disease.

Although the exact cause of uterine cancer is unknown, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing endometrial or uterine cancer.

Uterine Cancer Risk Factors

Although the exact cause of uterine cancer is unknown, certain factors can increase the risk of developing uterine or endometrial cancer:

  • Age. Cancer of the uterus occurs mostly in women over age 50
  • Endometrial hyperplasia. This increase in the number of cells in the lining of the uterus is not cancer, but sometimes develops into cancer.
  • Diabetes
  • Estrogen replacement therapy without the use of progesterone
  • History of endometrial polyps or other benign growths of the uterine lining
  • Infertility
  • Infrequent periods
  • Tamoxifen, a drug used for breast cancer treatment
  • Never being pregnant
  • Obesity
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Starting menstruation at an early age (before age 12)
  • Starting menopause after age 50

If you have one or more of these risk factors, it does not mean you will get uterine cancer, but you should speak with a Penn Medicine physician about your risk.