Womb cancer: 'Cases have gone up by by 50% in the last 20 years'

Wellbeing of Women researcher, Dr Sarah Kitson, tells us what women need to know about womb cancer

by Wellbeing of Women | 9th Sep 2020

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Despite affecting more than 9,000 women in the UK every year, lots of women and girls don’t know the signs and symptoms of womb cancer.

Womb cancer, which is also sometimes called endometrial or uterine cancer, is a cancer that’s found in the lining of the womb – the muscular bag that would hold a baby during pregnancy.

Though older women are most at risk, it affects young women too, and it’s been on the increase in recent years.

So, for #GynaeCancerAwarenessMonth, Dr Sarah Kitson, NIHR clinical lecturer and womb cancer researcher, said this is what women need to know:

Education and awareness is key

“Most women haven’t heard of womb cancer and are unsure as to what it is because it’s not something that’s discussed. People know what ovarian cancer and cervical cancer is but there’s a lack of education about womb cancer.”

It’s one of the most common cancers among women (behind breast, lung and bowel)

“It’s the fourth most-common cancer among women in the UK and more than 9,000 women are diagnosed with womb cancer in the UK each year.”

More women are getting it than before

“Womb cancer cases have gone up by 50% in the last 20 years.”

Young women can get it too

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a greater number of younger women that are presenting with womb cancer. People think that because women under 40 are at lower risk, that symptoms they are presenting with aren’t associated with womb cancer.”

Unusual bleeding, particularly post-menopausal bleeding, is the most common symptom

“This could be that women are developing bleeding between their periods, or their periods are getting heavy or are not as regular as they were before.”

…especially if going on the pill hasn’t helped

“If a GP has tried the oral contraceptive pill or other hormonal treatment thinking that this may help regulate their period, and it's not working, women should persist and speak to their doctor again.”

So is unusual discharge

“It can present as abnormal discharge, such as brown or new discharge.”

Keeping fit and healthy can lower your risk

“Doing regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight is something women can do to reduce their risk.”

Wellbeing of Women invests in research into finding new ways of diagnosing, preventing and treating womb cancer. Donate here.

Find more information about womb cancer, including symptoms and treatment, here.