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Uterine Cancer Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of uterine cancer?

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Updated July 03, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Uterine cancer symptoms can vary because there are several different types of uterine cancer that can affect women, such as endometrial cancer and uterine sarcomas. Endometrial cancer involves the part of the tissue that lines the uterus, whereas sarcomas are tumors inside the muscle tissue and supporting structures.

Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

In general terms, the most common symptom is vaginal bleeding that occurs after menopause. Once a woman enters menopause, any vaginal bleeding is considered abnormal and requires an evaluation by a doctor. Uterine cancer is not the only cause of vaginal bleeding after menopause. Fibroids, throid disorders, polyps, and hormone replacement therapy can also cause vaginal bleeding in post-menopausal women. Women who are experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding (soaking through one sanitary pad an hour), should go to the emergency room.

In women who haven't yet gone through menopause, the predominant symptom is also abnormal vaginal bleeding. Abnormal vaginal bleeding includes:

  • periods that are heavy and prolonged
  • heavy spotting that occurs between periods
  • more than one period in a cycle month
  • vaginal bleeding that occurs before and/or after sex
  • vaginal bleeding in women who are post-menopausal

Specific symptoms of uterine sarcoma can include vaginal bleeding after menopause, spotting between periods, and a watery, vaginal discharge that may be blood tinged. In the early stages of uterine sarcoma, there may not be any noticeable symptoms.

With endometrial cancer, the most common and first experienced symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding. Other symptoms include a watery vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, and pelvic pain.

What to Expect At the Doctor If You Have Uterine Cancer Symptoms

If endometrial cancer is suspected, a thorough pelvic exam will first be done by a gynecologist. A uterine biopsy confirms or rules out uterine cancer.

Sources:

American Cancer Society. What is Uterine Sarcoma? A Detailed Guide. 9 Feb 2011. Accessed August 10, 2008.
http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/UterineSarcoma/DetailedGuide/uterine-sarcoma-what-is-uterine-sarcoma

National Cancer Institute. Uterine Sarcoma. 26 June 2008. Accessed 9 February 2011.
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/uterinesarcoma

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