The uterus is also known as the womb and is a small organ within the pelvis. The normal function of the uterus is childbearing. The lining of the uterus is known as the endometrium. During the menstrual cycle the body undergoes cyclic changes in reproductive hormones that result in sloughing of the endometrium if pregnancy does not occur. The sloughing of the endometrium results in normal menses, or a period.
Most uterine cancers arise from the endometrium. Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 60,000 women are diagnosed with endometrial cancer each year. A women’s lifetime risk of developing endometrial cancer is approximately 1 in 37. While these cancers can occur in women of any age, the average age for the diagnosis of endometrial cancer is in the 60’s.