Jun 26, 2009 - 6:45 am
Endometrial cancer can sometimes be associated with known risk factors for the disease. Many risk factors can be changed though not all can be avoided.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Women with a uterus who take estrogen replacement therapy alone for 5 years or more to treat symptoms of menopause have a 10 times greater risk of endometrial cancer than those not taking estrogen therapy. Adding progestin therapy to estrogen therapy (combined hormone therapy) decreases the risk of developing endometrial cancer or precancerous lesions, such as atypical hyperplasia.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modifiers: Tamoxifen and raloxifene are selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMs that are being studied to prevent breast cancer. Using tamoxifen increases a woman's risk of developing endometrial cancer. The risk is greater in postmenopausal women. Using raloxifene has not been shown to increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Oral Contraceptive Use: The use of combination oral contraceptives by premenopausal women is associated with a decreased risk of developing endometrial cancer, ranging from a 50% decrease after 4 years of use, to a 72% decrease after 12 or more years of use.
Age at Onset of Menstruation and Menopause: Beginning menstruation at an early age and beginning menopause at a late age increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Diet and Lifestyle: The risk of developing endometrial cancer is increased in women who are obese. Women who eat diets low in saturated fats, high in fruits and vegetables, and rich in soy products may have a reduced risk of endometrial cancer. Women who exercise regularly tend to have a reduced risk of endometrial cancer.
Hereditary Conditions: Women who carry the hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) genetic abnormality have an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: The risk of developing endometrial cancer is higher in women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (a disorder of the hormones made by the ovaries).
Number of Children and Breastfeeding: Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of developing endometrial cancer than women who have had children. Women who breastfeed may have a reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Call 1-800-4-CANCER For more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Deaf and hard-of-hearing callers with TTY equipment may call 1-800-332-8615. The call is free and a trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.
Credit by Endometrial Cancer Prevention (PDQ®)