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Causes of Endometrial Cancer

Written by Dr. D. Sunitha | Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu, M.Phil.,Ph.D on Mar 03, 2016
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Causes of Endometrial Cancer

Chronic exposure to estrogen increases the risk for developing Endometrial Cancer.


The real cause of uterine or endometrial cancer is unknown. The risk of developing this form of cancer increases with severe exposure to the female hormone, estrogen. One of estrogen's normal functions is to stimulate the buildup of the endometrial lining of the uterus, thereby leading to endometrial hyperplasia, which is a precursor for cancer.

The cause of uterine cancer is unknown. Yet, some of the factors known to increase estrogen exposure, and adding to the risks of endometrial cancer are:

  • Early menarche: Menstruation sets in before age 12
  • Delayed menopause: The more number of years a women menstruates, especially if it extends beyond the age of 52, exposes the endometrium to estrogens for an extended period of time. This over exposure is known to increase the risk of endometrial cancer
  • Nulliparity: A word used for a woman who was never pregnant during the conceiving years. Pregnancy seems to protect against endometrial cancer. During pregnancy the body produces more progesterone protecting the endometrium by lowering estrogen levels
  • Irregular ovulation: This condition may be triggered by obesity and the presence of a condition called Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). These conditions can either cause disturbance in ovulation or may result in a failure to ovulate, both of which can enhance exposure to estrogen
  • Obesity: Obesity can elevate the levels of estrogen in the body, thus increasing the risk of cancer in general and endometrial cancer in particularMedical conditions – Such as Diabetes and hypertension can increase the risk of endometrial cancer
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT): Estrogen is known to activate the development of the endometrium. After menopause, therapeutic replacement of estrogen alone may increase the risks of endometrial cancer
  • Ovarian tumors: Certain ovarian tumors secrete estrogen themselves and add to the body’s estrogen levels, thus raising the risk of endometrial cancer
  • Age: Generally endometrial cancers take many years to develop therefore the risk of cancer for older women is manifold. Statistics show that 95% of endometrial cancer cases occur in women over the age of 40
  • Family history of uterine cancer: Women with a family history of uterine cancer are twice as likely to develop endometrial cancer than women without a family history
  • Personal history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer: Presence of breast cancer and ovarian cancer enhances the risk of endometrial cancer
  • Tamoxifen treatment: Use of tamoxifen can cause a similar influence like that of estrogen stimulating the growth of the uterine lining
  • Radiation: Women with a history of pelvic radiation are at the greatest risk for carcino sarcomas


  1. Lancet. 2005 Aug 6-12;366(9484):491-505. Endometrial cancer.Amant F, Moerman P, Neven P, Timmerman D, Van Limbergen E, Vergote I.
  2. Uterine Cancer Prognosis - (http://cancer.emedtv.com/uterine-cancer/uterine-cancer-prognosis-p2.html)

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I am happy to say that I am offically Cancer free as of November 26th 2008...and I urge women who have symptoms of abnormal bleeding to get themselves checked not just a regular check up but an extensive one.. Let's keep up the faith in ourselves and keep on moving.

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