Range of treatment options for a rare cancer

Endometrial cancer starts in the lining of the womb. There are two main types.

Type 1 is a slow-growing cancer which is thought to be linked to the female hormone oestrogen.

This is the most common type of endometrial cancer, making up around 80 per cent of cases.

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Type 2 endometrial cancer is a more aggressive, faster-growing form of cancer that does not appear to have any connection to oestrogen.

There are also several rarer types of cancers of the womb.

The most common symptom in womb cancers is abnormal bleeding, especially in women who have had their menopause and stopped having periods.

Advanced cancer can cause other symptoms, especially if it has spread to other parts of the body. But many of these symptoms are vague – including pain in the abdomen, weight loss, tiredness and constipation – and make it difficult to spot that the problem is cancer.

Treatment for endometrial cancer depends on what stage it is diagnosed. Most women will be advised to have a total hysterectomy, with the womb and both ovaries removed. Other treatments may include radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

About 7,500 cases of cancer of the womb are diagnosed in the UK each year, including 600 in Scotland. The disease is responsible for around 1,700 deaths, 160 of these in Scotland.