There are several different types of cancers which affect the uterus, and these all fall under the category of Uterine Cancer. The uterus is an organ in the female anatomy composed of two basic components, the myometrium and endometrium. Cells from either of these two areas can become malignant, and the kind of cancer which may develop, is based on the originating location and type of originating cell. In general, uterine cancers include:
- Uterine sarcomas: which are the type of cancer that involves the muscular layer of the uterus. The most common type of uterine sarcoma is a leiomyosarcomas.
- Endometrial cancers: these cancers originate from cells in the glands of the endometrium, or uterine lining. The most common uterine cancer is an endometrial adenocarcinoma, which is sometimes just referred to as endometrial cancer, and this is this cancer that is going to be the focus of this passage. Other types of endometrial cancers include papillary serous carcinoma and uterine clear-cell carcinoma. Mixed Müllerian tumors are rare endometrial tumors which show both glandular and sarcomatous features.
As noted above, endometrial adenocarcinoma, typically referred to as endometrial cancer is the most common form of uterine cancer, and will be the cancer discussed in the remainder of this website entry.
Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer with an estimated 40,100 women diagnosed in the US in 2008 according to American Cancer Society statistics. It is the fourth most common cancer in women. One in approximately 41 women will be diagnosed with endometrial cancer in her lifetime. The peak incidence is in women ages 50 to 70 years Seventy-five percent of women are postmenopausal at diagnosis. It is more common in Caucasian women; however African American women are more likely to die from endometrial cancer.
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