Womb (Uterus) Cancer

The womb, or uterus, is a muscular, pear-shaped organ at the top of a woman’s vagina where a baby grows before being born.

Each year, about 7,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cancer of the womb. The cause in most women is still unknown, but many of the risk factors are related to age, obesity and high levels of the hormone oestrogen in comparison with progesterone.

Other factors may reduce a woman’s risk of womb cancer, such as having children.

Things to look out for

The most common symptom of cancer of the womb is abnormal vaginal bleeding, for example:

  • Post-menopausal bleeding
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Unusually heavy periods
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

Other symptoms of womb cancer are:

  • Back, leg or abdominal pain
  • Abdominal or leg swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Passing urine more often than usual
  • Tiredness and weakness

There are many possible causes of all these symptoms but you should always see your GP about it. A normal cervical screening test (smear test) doesn’t prove that you don’t have cancer of the womb.