Endometrial Cancer

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Risk Factors

Endometrial cancer rarely affects women before age 40. Most women with endometrial cancer are 50 years old or older.

Besides age, another important risk factor is your balance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Factors that shift your balance toward more estrogen can increase your risk. This is why the following are risk factors:

  • Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause with estrogen alone. (Women who have a uterus and who take HRT can take a form that combines estrogen and progestins, which are progesterone-like drugs, to avoid increased risk for endometrial cancer. Discuss your HRT options with your doctor.)
  • Having more menstrual periods—starting your period earlier in life or going through menopause later.
  • Never being pregnant.
  • Being overweight or obese (because body fat raises your estrogen level).

Here are other factors that may increase your risk.

  • Taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex) for breast cancer treatment
  • Having breast cancer, ovarian cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, or diabetes
  • Eating a high-fat diet
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle
  • Having a family history of endometrial cancer
  • Having Lynch syndrome
  • Having had radiation therapy to your pelvic area before
  • Having had endometrial hyperplasia, especially complex hyperplasia with atypia

Taking birth control pills lowers your risk for endometrial cancer.

References

American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
National Comprehensive Cancer Network