Types of womb cancer
This page is about different types of womb cancer. There is information about
Types of womb cancer
By far the most common type of cancer of the womb is endometrial cancer. Endometrial means that the cancer starts in the lining of the womb. This lining is called the endometrium. About 95 out of every 100 endometrial cancers (95%) are adenocarcinomas. There are 3 main types of adenocarcinomas
- Endometrioid adenocarcinomas
- Papillary serous carcinomas
- Clear cell carcinoma
Less common womb types of womb cancers include adenocanthomas and sarcomas.
Although the cervix is part of the womb, cervical cancer is very different from womb cancer. We have a large section on cancer of the cervix.
You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the About womb cancer section.
By far the most common type of cancer of the womb is endometrial cancer. Endometrial means that the cancer starts in the lining of the womb. This lining is called the endometrium. About 95 out of every 100 endometrial cancers (95%) are adenocarcinomas. Adeno means that the cells that have become cancerous are the cells of glandular tissue. So, in the most common type of womb cancer, the cancer is in the glands of the endometrium. Carcinoma means that the cancer has started in a surface or lining layer of cells (the epithelium). There are 3 main types of adenocarcinomas
More than 3 out of 4 adenocarcinomas of the womb lining are this type. Endometrioid is pronounced endo-mee-tree-oyd. These cancers are often diagnosed at an early stage and so are usually treated successfully.
This is much less common than endometrioid cancers. Only about 5 out of every 100 womb cancers (5%) are the papillary serous type. This is a more quickly growing type of cancer that is more likely to come back than other types, even if it is caught early.
Clear cell carcinoma of the womb lining is very rare. These days, only about 1 or 2 cases of womb cancer in every 100 (1 to 2%) are clear cell cancer.
Adenocarcinoma with squamous cells (adenoacanthomas)
Sarcoma of the womb (uterine sarcoma)
There are cancers that develop from cells in the muscle layer of the womb, rather than the lining. They are a type of soft tissue sarcoma and are much less common than endometrial cancer.
Soft tissue sarcomas are cancers of the supporting tissues of the body. There are many subtypes and they can develop from muscle or blood vessels, for example. They tend to spread in the bloodstream to other parts of the body especially the lungs. Their treatments are different to the other types of womb cancers. Leiomyosarcoma is the most common sarcoma of the womb. It is a cancer of the muscle wall. Rarely, womb sarcoma can occur in the endometrial lining.
Because they are so different to endometrial cancers, we haven't covered sarcomas in detail in this section. There is another section about soft tissue sarcomas.
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