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What Is Endometrial Carcinoma?

Cancer happens when cells in your body go through changes that make them grow out of control. Endometrial carcinoma is a kind of cancer that begins in your uterus. Only women have a uterus, so only women can get this kind of cancer.

Female reproductive anatomy
Click to Enlarge

Carcinoma refers to cancer that begins in tissues that form linings throughout the body. The endometrium is the lining of the inside of the uterus. So endometrial carcinoma is a cancer that forms in the inner lining of the uterus. In women of childbearing age, this lining grows and thickens each month to prepare for pregnancy. If a woman does not become pregnant, the thick, bloody lining flows out of the body as the menstrual flow. 

This article refers to endometrial carcinoma simply as endometrial cancer, but other kinds of cancer can form in the uterus as well. These are called uterine sarcomas.

female reproductive system
Click to Enlarge: Close-up of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes

Endometrial cancer usually takes years to develop. It most often occurs in women who have already gone through menopause.