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Signs and symptoms of uterine cancer

This page was reviewed under our medical and editorial policy by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on June 20, 2022.

Uterine cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the uterus. In 2022, about 65,950 new uterine cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

Symptoms of uterine cancer may differ depending on the type—endometrial cancer or uterine sarcoma. Most women with uterine cancer, about 92 percent, have endometrial cancer, or a tumor that develops in the tissues of the uterine lining, called the endometrium. The other primary type, uterine sarcoma, is rare and develops in the muscles or other tissues of the uterus.

This article will cover:

Common symptoms of uterine cancer

Patients with endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma often experience similar symptoms, including:

  • Unusual bleeding or spotting
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain

Early warning signs of endometrial cancer

For most women with endometrial cancer, abnormal bleeding (like that not related to monthly periods or occurring after menopause) is the most common symptom, and the first one they notice. Symptoms of a tumor in the uterus usually affect both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Other common symptoms of endometrial cancer include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge not caused by menstruation
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Pain during sex     
  • Pelvic pain     
  • Unintentional weight loss

Early warning signs of uterine sarcoma

For most women with uterine sarcoma, unusual vaginal bleeding or spotting is the most common symptom. Abnormal vaginal bleeding may include bleeding that occurs outside of menstruation or postmenopausal bleeding. Other common symptoms of uterine tumors include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Abdominal pain or full feeling in the abdomen
  • A mass (lump or growth) in the vagina
  • Constant feeling of fullness

These signs and symptoms may be caused by conditions other than uterine cancer. Patients experiencing any of them are urged to see a doctor to determine the cause.

Diagnosing uterine cancer

Doctors are prepared to help their patients determine the cause of symptoms. Patients should be prepared to:

  • Provide details about symptoms and how long they’ve lasted
  • Undergo a physical exam and/or a pelvic exam
  • Discuss medical history
  • Undergo additional tests

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