Two types of endometrial cancer are uterine sarcomas and endometrial carcinomas. Uterine sarcomas begin in connective tissues or muscle layer of the uterus, whereas endometrial carcinomas start in the uterus lining. Most uterine cancers are endometrial carcinomas.
Types of Uterine and Endometrial Cancers
When a doctor takes samples of your uterine tissues or cells, how the cells appear under the microscope determines your precise diagnosis. These types of endometrial carcinomas include:
- Adenocarcinoma, with most uterine cancers being this type of endometrial cancer
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Small cell carcinoma
- Transitional carcinoma
- Undifferentiated carcinoma
As mentioned above, adenocarcinoma is the most common uterine and endometrial cancer. Your diagnosis likely falls into this category. But there are subtypes of adenocarcinoma, too. The most common adenocarcinoma subtype is endometrioid cancer. These cancer cells in glands look very much like your normal uterine lining, your endometrium. The cancer cells include one or more types of cells, those types being flat squamous cells and glandular cells.
If you are diagnosed with endometrioid cancer, your final diagnosis may be described as one of these cancers:
- Secretory carcinoma
- Ciliated carcinoma
- Villoglandular adenocarcinoma
- Clear-cell carcinoma
- Mucinous adenocarcinoma
- Papillary serous adenocarcinoma
Risk Factors for Endometrial Cancers
Risk factors for endometrial cancers include both preventable risks and non-preventable risks. These risk factors do not necessarily lead to the disease.
Some risk factors for endometrial cancer include:
- Medications affecting your hormone levels, such birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Conditions affecting your hormone levels, such as pregnancy, obesity, ovarian tumors and polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Use of an IUD
- Diet and exercise
- Family history of cancer
- Past diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer
- Past diagnosis of endometrial hyperplasia
- Radiation therapy to the pelvis for cancer treatment
Some of these risk factors actually improve your chances of not having endometrial cancer. Those positive risk factors include pregnancy, use of an IUD and birth control pills. Other factors lead to greater risk of endometrial cancer.