Although certain endometrial cancer risk factors exist for developing the disease, they do not always cause it. Many women with one or more risk factors never develop endometrial cancer. Most cancers of the uterus arise from the lining, called the endometrium.
Well-established risk factors for endometrial cancer are:
- Obesity: greater than 50 pounds overweight
- Age: only 5% of endometrial cancers occur in women younger than 40
- Extended tamoxifen use
- Non-cyclic use of estrogen
- Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer (Lynch Syndrome)
- Ovarian diseases: certain ovarian tumors can cause an increase in estrogen levels
- Uterine Sarcomas
Cancers arising from the muscle of the uterus are called sarcomas. These tumors are typically aggressive even in early stages. The major risk factor for developing a uterine sarcoma is having a history of prior radiation to the pelvis.