Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Causes, risk factors and prevention

What are risk factors for endometrial cancer?

The following have been suggested as risk factors for endometrial cancer:

  • Never having children.
  • Obesity. 
  • Being treated with tamoxifen for breast cancer. 
  • Estrogen replacement therapy for treatment of effects of menopause. 
  • Diet high in animal fat. 
  • Diabetes. 
  • Age 40 or over. 
  • High blood pressure. 
  • Infrequent menstrual periods. 
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding. 
  • Caucasian women. 
  • Abnormal uterine biopsies. 
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome. 
  • Family history of endometrial cancer or colon cancer (hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer).
  • Personal history of breast cancer. 
  • Personal history of ovarian cancer. 
  • Prior radiation therapy for pelvic cancer.

How can the risk of endometrial cancer be minimized?

The exact cause of endometrial cancer is not known. However, physicians believe that avoiding the known risk factors, when possible, are the best ways to lower the risk of developing endometrial cancer. Controlling weight and diabetes are very important. Using oral contraceptives has been shown to decrease the risk of endometrial cancer.