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endometrial cancerWhat Is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, is the abnormal growth of any cells that originate from the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus (womb). These abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumour. Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in females in Singapore.*

Certain tumours of the uterus can however be benign, such as a fibroid, a polyp, or endometriosis. These are usually not life-threatening and can be treated or removed. They do not invade neighbouring tissues or spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant growths, which are cancerous, can invade nearby tissues and organs such as the vagina and spread to other parts of the body. The cancer cells break out of the uterine tumour and travel via lymph vessels to nearby lymph nodes. They can also spread through the blood vessels to other organs such as the lung, liver, or brain, forming tumours in these new locations.

 

* Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry report, Trends in Cancer Incidence in Singapore 2010-2014

Overview

The uterus is a hollow, thick walled, muscular organ situated deep in the pelvic cavity between the bladder and the rectum. The main function of the uterus is to hold a developing foetus until maturity. As such, it is the site where the implantation of fertilised ova, placentation, growth, and the development of the foetus takes place. The uterus has 3 layers, namely the:

  • Endometrium - inner lining of the uterus
  • Myometrium - middle muscular layer of the uterus
  • Perimetrium - outer layer of the uterus consisting of smooth muscles