Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

The uterus and uterine cancer

What is the uterus?

The uterus, also called the womb, is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman’s lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum.

What are parts of the uterus?

  • Cervix – the narrow, lower portion of the uterus.
  • Corpus – the broader, upper part of the uterus (also called the body of the uterus). 
  • Myometrium – the outer layer of the corpus; the muscle that expands during pregnancy to hold the growing fetus. 
  • Endometrium – the inner lining of the uterus.

What is uterine cancer?

Most commonly, uterine cancer refers to a cancer of the endometrium. Rarely, a cancer can arise in the wall of the uterus, the myometrum. These cancers are known as sarcomas. They are diagnosed and treated much like endometrial cancer, although they are more likely to spread and recur.

Anatomy of the female pelvic area

Endometrium – the lining of the uterus.

Uterus – also called the womb, the uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman’s lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum.

Ovaries – two female reproductive organs located in the pelvis.

Cervix – the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb) located between the bladder and the rectum. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.

Vagina – the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods. It also is called the “birth canal.” The vagina connects the cervix (the opening of the womb, or uterus) and the vulva (the external genitalia).

Vulva – the external portion of the female genital organs.