Can Endometrial Cancer Be Prevented?

There's no sure way to prevent endometrial cancer. But there are things you can do that may help lower your risk of developing this disease. They're based on changing your risk factors whenever possible.

Get to and stay at a healthy weight

Women who are overweight or obese are up to 3 times more likely to get endometrial cancer compared with women at a healthy weight. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is one way to lower the risk of this cancer.

Be physically active

Studies have linked higher levels of physical activity to lower risks of endometrial cancer, so getting regular physical activity (exercise) may also be a way to help lower endometrial cancer risk. An active lifestyle can help you stay at a healthy weight, as well as lower the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes (another risk factor for endometrial cancer).

Discuss pros and cons of hormone therapy with your doctor

Estrogen to treat the symptoms of menopause is available in many different forms like pills, skin patches, shots, creams, and vaginal rings. If you're thinking about using estrogen for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about how it will affect your risk of endometrial cancer. Progestins (progesterone-like drugs) can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer in women taking estrogen therapy, but this combination increases the risk of breast cancer. If you still have your uterus and are taking estrogen therapy, be sure to discuss this issue with your doctor.

Get treated for endometrial problems

Getting proper treatment of pre-cancer disorders of the endometrium is another way to lower the risk of endometrial cancer. Most endometrial cancers develop over a period of years. Many are known to come after, and possibly start, from less serious changes in the endometrium called endometrial hyperplasia. (See Endometrial Cancer Risk Factors for more on this.)

Some cases of hyperplasia go away without treatment, but sometimes it needs to be treated with hormones or even surgery. Treatment with progestins (see Hormone Therapy for Endometrial Cancer) and a dilation and curettage (D&C) or hysterectomy (removing the uterus) can prevent hyperplasia from becoming cancer. (D&C is described in Tests for Endometrial Cancer.)

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of endometrial pre-cancers and cancers. If you have unusual bleeding, see a health care provider and have it checked right away.

Talk to your doctor if you have HNPCC

Women with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC or Lynch syndrome) have a very high risk of endometrial cancer. Most experts recommend that a woman with HNPCC have her uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes removed (a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy) after she's finished having children to prevent endometrial cancer.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Lu KH, Daniels M. Endometrial and ovarian cancer in women with Lynch syndrome: update in screening and prevention. Fam Cancer. 2013;12(2):273-7.

MacKintosh ML, Crosbie EJ. Prevention Strategies in Endometrial Carcinoma. Curr Oncol Rep. 2018;20(12):101.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), Uterine Neoplasms, Version 1.2019 -- October 17, 2018. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/uterine.pdf on January 31, 2019.

Last Medical Review: March 27, 2019 Last Revised: March 27, 2019

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