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Risks of Endometrial Cancer

There are number of risk factors That increase your chances of endometrial cancer. These include:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): this is a condition in which the ovaries develop multiple cysts, fertility can be reduced and which is associated with abnormal menstrual cyclicity

  • Early menarche (onset of periods) and late menopause: this is because the endometrium is stimulated for a longer period of your life

  • Nulliparity: having no children prolongs the time in your reproductive years in which the endometrium turns over/is stimulated

  • Not breastfeeding: breastfeeding has been shown to be protective against developing endometrial cancer

  • Hormone replacement therapy containing oestrogen only if the womb is present: this acts like extending the duration of stimulation of the womb lining

  • Obesity: being overweight increases the production of oestrogen by fat cells in the body which act on the womb lining


All of the risk factors share a common theme: an excess of oestrogen in the body which stimulates the womb lining/endometrium, thus increasing the risk of cancer cells arising. Some women may of course still develop endometrial cancer without these risk factors, but the chances of this happening are lower as there are other risk factors which contribute to risk such as genetic makeup, lifestyle, etc.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding. This could be:

Bleeding after the menopause

Bleeding in between periods

Heavier periods than normal

Bloody and watery vaginal discharge

In addition, lower tummy discomfort or pain during sex are examples of less common symptoms.

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