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Causes & Risk Factors
Medical research has not been able to identify the exact causes behind uterine cancer, however, the evidence from clinical trials and medical experience built up over time reveals strong connections between several risk factors and uterine cancer. These risk factors include
1. Age: Age seems to be an important uterine cancer risk factor because this type of cancer is more frequently diagnosed in women over 50. Only 10 percent of the women diagnosed with uterine cancer are below 40.
2. Obesity: Overweight women have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer because fat tissue causes the body to produce more estrogen. This estrogen has a direct impact on the growth process of cells from the inner uterine tissue - endometrium. As more lining tissue is built up, there is a higher chance for one of the cells to become cancerous.
3. High level of estrogen: The risk for developing uterine cancer increases when the body retains a high level of estrogen. This can be caused by the following conditions:
4. Infertility: Women that cannot have children are at a higher risk to develop uterine cancer because of the high level of estrogen that is produced during the reproductive years of a woman is not interrupted by the normal hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Pregnancy causes the estrogen level to decrease and the progesterone level to increase which allows the inner uterine tissue to rest.
5. Family history of uterine or breast cancer: A woman's risk for developing uterine cancer increases if she has a first degree relative (like sister, mother, grandmother) that suffered from uterine, breast or colorectal cancer.
6. Endometrial hyperplasia: Hyperplasia is a medical condition, characterized by a thickened inner uterus lining, that can raise the chance of developing uterine cancer by 20%.
Article by Alina Morrow, MS
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