Diagnosis and Management of Endometrial Cancer

Am Fam Physician. 2016 Mar 15;93(6):468-74.


Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy. It is the fourth most common cancer in women in the United States after breast, lung, and colorectal cancers. Risk factors are related to excessive unopposed exposure of the endometrium to estrogen, including unopposed estrogen therapy, early menarche, late menopause, tamoxifen therapy, nulliparity, infertility or failure to ovulate, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Additional risk factors are increasing age, obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. The most common presentation for endometrial cancer is postmenopausal bleeding. The American Cancer Society recommends that all women older than 65 years be informed of the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer and advised to seek evaluation if symptoms occur. There is no evidence to support endometrial cancer screening in asymptomatic women. Evaluation of a patient with suspected disease should include a pregnancy test in women of childbearing age, complete blood count, and prothrombin time and partial thromboplastin time if bleeding is heavy. Most guidelines recommend either transvaginal ultrasonography or endometrial biopsy as the initial study. The mainstay of treatment for endometrial cancer is total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Radiation and chemotherapy can also play a role in treatment. Low- to medium-risk endometrial hyperplasia can be treated with nonsurgical options. Survival is generally defined by the stage of the disease and histology, with most patients at stage I and II having a favorable prognosis. Controlling risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension could play a role in the prevention of endometrial cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors