Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Provider photo for Nell Suby

Nell Suby, MD

Gyn Oncology

Welcome to My Doctor Online, a web site that my colleagues and I developed to make it easier for you to take care of your healthcare needs. On this site you will find answers to many of your questions about my clinical practice. Also included are several online features that will allow you to e-mail me, check your laboratory results and refill prescriptions. I hope you find its content informative and useful.

My Offices

Sacramento Medical Center
Appt/Advice: 916-614-4055

See all office information »

subContentURL_nobackslash = resources/dc/condition

firstActiveTabUrlFragment = resources/dc/conditionlist

subContentURL_nobackslash = resources/dc/condition

JSP2Include = /mdo/presentation/conditions/condition.jsp?nocache=true

Overview

Endometrial cancer is also known as uterine cancer. This cancer:

  • Occurs when the cells that line the uterus become cancerous (malignant).
  • Is the most common women’s reproductive organ cancer.
  • Is often signaled by unusual vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause.

The uterus is a pear-shaped organ located in the middle of a woman’s pelvic area. This is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. The inner lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. 

During the years when a woman can become pregnant (is fertile), her endometrium:

  • Grows and thickens each month, to be ready to support pregnancy.
  • Is shed during her menstrual period, if she is not pregnant. 

Monthly growing and shedding of the uterine lining continues until a woman goes through menopause. After menopause the uterus still has an endometrium, but hormones no longer stimulate it to grow and shed.

Additional References:

Risk Factors

Certain factors make it more likely that you’ll develop endometrial cancer. But having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that you will get endometrial cancer. 

The main risk factors are:

  • Obesity. Fat tissue produces higher than normal amounts of a hormone called estrogen. In time, this can cause endometrial cells to overgrow and become cancerous.
  • Estrogen therapy. Hormone therapy should include both estrogen and a balancing hormone called progesterone. Too much estrogen can cause endometrial cells to overgrow.
  • Age. Risk increases after menopause.
  • Tamoxifen. This drug is used to treat or prevent breast cancer. Tamoxifen’s benefits are greater than its risks for most women.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation in the pelvic area slightly increases risk. Radiation can damage cells’ DNA (genetic material).
  • Family history. Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that increases risk for endometrial cancer and other diseases. Most endometrial cancer is not inherited.

Symptoms

Unusual vaginal bleeding is the most common sign of endometrial cancer. It should be checked by your doctor.

Be sure to let us know if you:

  • Are older than age 55 and continue to have “periods.” 
  • Have gone through menopause and have any bleeding, even spotting or other discharge with a bit of blood.

If you haven’t gone through menopause, let us know if you have bleeding that:

  • Occurs between your periods.
  • Is heavier than normal for your periods.
  • Goes on longer than is normal for your periods.

There is no routine screening test to catch endometrial cancer before symptoms develop.

Diagnosis

If you have bleeding or other symptoms that might be caused by endometrial cancer, please come in for a checkup. We will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. 

We may recommend one or more of these tests:

  • Pelvic exam. We check for lumps or unusual changes in the uterus, vagina, ovaries, and nearby tissues.
  • Endometrial biopsy. We use a thin tube to remove some endometrial cells from your uterus, in an in-office procedure. A laboratory checks the cells for cancer.
  • Dilation and curettage (D and C). In a same-day surgery, we remove some endometrial tissue. A laboratory checks the tissue for cancer.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound. A wand inserted through your vagina into the uterus sends images to a screen. We use the images to check for abnormalities.

Staging

Knowing the stage of your endometrial cancer is important for planning your treatment. We can only determine the actual stage (spread) of your cancer by performing surgery.

As part of the staging surgery, we may need to remove one or more of these organs and tissues:

  • Uterus
  • Cervix, the narrow, lower part of the uterus
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Ovaries
  • Lymph nodes 

The tissues are then checked under a microscope.

Here are the definitions for endometrial cancer stages I to IV:

  • Stage I: The cancer is still contained within the uterus and has not spread.
  • Stage II: The cancer has spread to the cervix but not beyond.
  • Stage III: The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV: The cancer has spread outside the pelvis.

Treatments

Most cases of endometrial cancer are found at an early stage. This gives us the best chance for successful treatment. 

A surgical procedure known as a hysterectomy is the usual treatment for endometrial cancer. In most women, surgery alone cures the cancer. Some women also need radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.

Additional References:

Your Care with Me

If you suspect that you might have an endometrial cancer, your first contact will typically be with your personal gynecologist, who will evaluate your health and symptoms. If specialty care is needed, your personal gynecologist will place a referral for an appointment in my department.

During your office visit, we will discuss your medical and family history and I will perform a physical exam. I will explain the findings of your exam and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We will discuss treatment options and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Related Health Tools:

Podcasts
Prepare for Your Procedure

See more Health Tools »

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

Content loading spinner