Endometrial cancer

Cancer of the womb or uterus is the most common gynaecological cancer. Usually beginning in the lining of the womb, the endometrium, it is often called endometrial cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer in women and mainly affects women after the menopause.

Unfortunately, early symptoms of womb cancer can easily be missed. The main symptom is unusual bleeding from the vagina, which may be light with a water discharge and get heavier over time. If you have this symptom, you should visit your GP, who will refer you for further tests.

Carleen’s story

“I was only 36 when I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and had just got married. The symptoms had started 18 months before. I had always had irregular periods but I then began to have bleeding, particularly after sex. Despite reassurance from my GP, I knew something wasn’t right. When I moved to a different area, my new GP referred me for tests, which found cancerous cells in the lining of my womb. Fortunately, the cancer was at an early stage.

“I was told I should have a hysterectomy as soon as possible, and the operation also removed my ovaries. In retrospect, I wished I’d challenged that decision – if I’d kept my ovaries, I might have been able to try IVF or surrogacy – but in the shock of the moment I didn’t question any advice.

“Seven years on I have just qualified as a midwife. My advice to other women is, listen to your body, don’t be put off if you really think something is wrong, ask as many questions as you need to and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.”