More women are getting uterine (womb) cancer than ever before in the UK – report from Cancer Research UK

The latest statistics from Cancer Research UK that shows that more women are getting uterine (womb) ancer than ever before. Figures in the UK for death from uterine cancer show that they have risen from 3.1 per 100,000 people in the late 1990s to 3.7 per 100,000 people.

According to the statistics, the actual incidence of uterine cancer also rose by 43% over the same period from 13.7 per 100,000 people in the later 1990s to 19.6. It is now know that 1900 women now die from the disease each year, compared with less than 1500 at the end of 1999.

The rise in deaths has been attributed to the higher number of women contracting the disease. However, the good news is that survival rates from uterine cancer are improving all the time with 77% of women now surviving for five years or more.

According to Cancer Research UK there seems to be a direct link between unhealthy body weights and increased rates of uterine cancer. Sara Hiom of Cancer Research UK said “Maintaining a healthy bodyweight can halve a woman’s risk of womb cancer and is one of the best ways to protect against the disease. Women should also be aware of the symptoms of womb cancer which include abnormal vaginal bleeding – especially for post-menopausal women – abdominal pain and pain during sex. Although these symptoms don’t usually mean cancer, as they could be signs of more common conditions like fibroids or endometriosis, it’s still vital to get them checked by a doctor. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more likely treatment will be successful.”


  1. Hi

    I have a cousin whom gave birth 10 months ago(it was a natural birth)now my concern is that her stomach keeps on growing,she now looks like someone who is 9 months pregnant.
    We have been in and out of hospital and nothing has changed.The was a point where the hospital drained some fluid from her stomach and it was back to its normal for a period of a month.
    What can be the cause of these and is there a cure for her condition?

  2. Pelvic pain that can’t be attributed to anything in particular is very common and you are doing the right things by getting it checked out, although it may be worth seeing a different GP next time instead of your usual one.

  3. Hi, I’m 25 for the last 2 years iv had long periods that last up to 10 to 12 days and i have lots of periods pain. I also get pain in my legs its like they feel heavier then my body. I had a laparoscopi last may I was very shocked they didn’t find cysts,fiboids or endometriosis. So I had a smear test about 3 mouth later come back fine.i get lots of dichcharge so alsobeen to have swabs lots of times always comes back clean. Over time my dichcharge has become abit like watery sometimes with bits of blood in. Sex is very uncuncomfortable for me to. I feel like there’s somethink worng butwhen I go to doctors she makes me feel like a little girl an I making it up. I asked her what I could do about my pelvic pain and she sed “I don’t no what you want me to do all test have come back clean, we can do blood teat if you like” I was in the room for about 5 mins. So gota go back nexted week.

  4. I have had prolonged bleeding for about 20 months, I am slim so considered low risk, told I have a polyp but as low risk no check needed. Had CIN2 3 years ago so yearly smears but still low risk! Periods never heavy until last week a sudden gush (apologies for TMI!) with large clot. Been bleeding/spotting for 4 weeks now but fed up with going to drs only to be told im fine (without investigation) completely feel like a hypochondriac but im concerned. I have 2 young children, 3 grandparents have had bowel cancer and my dad has stage 4 prostate cancer. Any help on how to make sure drs take me seriously? Wishing you all good health…

  5. There are always multiple factors involved in our health and yes, we often are given a simplistic explanation of why the symptoms and problems we have occur. Thanks for the heads up about Lynch Syndrome.

  6. As a young, slim, non-smoking, non-drinking, normotensive, non-diabetic mother, who has had both premenopausal and endometrial cancers in quick succession (with no history of exogenous hormones ever) I understand the irritation felt by several younger, slim endometrial sufferers above. The medical dogma relentlessly focuses on high BMI as a causative factor, but there are several different types of endometrial cancer and the causes are different. A less-discussed but extremely important risk factor is Lynch Syndrome (HNPCC or Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer). Women whose family medical history contains clusters of cancer from this group and who have been diagnosed with endometrial cancer without the other risk factors could be tested for this. Having had to diagnose myself after a major cancer centre missed my cancer (large, invasive and high grade) and eventually obtained treatment elsewhere, I had had to become very well-read on this subject. I have subsequently shared some of this knowledge with cancer professionals at an endometrial cancer symposium…

  7. I am a womb cancer survivor too.I am 67 and was 63 when I had what I can only describe as a ‘waters breaking’ experience. Not a huge amount, just a clear fluid that meant I had to ‘pad up’ for a few hours. I went to the GP who sent me for an ultra- sound scan. This showed nothing unusual and the GP’s conclusion was that a cyst had burst and I did not need to worry. So I didn’t! 6 months later I had a bleed, first one for 10years. My GP was very quick, I was at the gyny clinic within 2 days. The consultant snipped a large polyp from inside my vagina, which I had no idea I had so I thought that was it. 1 week later I was called back only to be told I had uterine cancer stage 1 grade 2. Total hysterectomy followed 4 weeks later and I too have never looked back. Just for the record I have been a personal trainer for many years, don’t smoke, eat healthily, am within BMI guidelines and when questioned had no other risk factors. The only thing I wonder about is that I took the birth pill from 1963 after the birth of my only child and stopped taking it in 1978 when I was sterilised.

  8. I, too, am someone who was not overweight, and got endometrial cancer. I was 40 and not even perimenopausal. My only significant contributory factors were irregular periods (very heavy and lasting longer than they should have), and never having had children. I went through 6 months of investigations at a snails’ pace before cancer was diagnosed, at which point the medics went into overdrive, and were incredibly efficient at removing the cancer and working to prevent further recurrence (fingers crossed). [I also found this site and the books sold on here very helpful in getting through the experience.]
    One thing that troubles me about the media coverage is the way so many medical reports these days seem to focus on contributory factors that can be seen to be the patients’ “fault”. Obesity is a social epidemic, but I do feel concern that when one factor is stressed above others, that it may play into a different agenda about removing funding for research from cancers that are seen to be “self-selected” through obesity or smoking. In actuality, all cancers need a range of symptoms to be more widely understood. I certainly had no idea that pre-menopausal women could get this cancer.
    And – huge condolences for your cousin. It’s a terrible disease.

  9. I agree with previous posters – it is a great shame that the link between weight and uterine cancer has been brought to the fore above all other links. We need to get the message out there to all women that this cancer can affect you at any age and weight (I was 43 and not perimenopausal or obese). There are many known factors, of which weight is only one – null parity, starting periods early, PCOS, anything that extends the period that your body is exposed to unopposed oestrogen, etc etc are all known to have links. Who knows – it may even be that the increase in incidence of this cancer can also be linked to the recent decline in the level of “routine” hysterectomies performed , as medical advances have produced other treatments e.g. ablation which have meant that women don’t have to go through the major trauma of a hysterectomy for non life threatening gynae conditions. Please let’s not “cherry pick” one risk factor at the expense of all others – women need to know all the information, not just the latest “findings”!

  10. You’ve made an interesting point in your reply to me Linda. I believe the Department of Health currently considers the issue of breast cancer in women over 70 to be a priority, whereas the DH has never run a womb cancer awareness campaign and has no plans to do so. I’m so sorry about the death of your cousin, mentioned in your reply to Gina. I firmly believe women of all ages – regardless of dress size, weight, BMI – should be alert to even the most minor changes. Younger women also need to take on board that smear tests aren’t designed to pick up changes to cells inside the womb itself – even though sometimes they may do so – therefore, it’s vitally important for them to push for further investigation if symptoms such as spotting or abnormal bleeding persist after a clear smear test result. I think the press could have done so much good last week if they’d helped to raise awareness of potential symptoms.

  11. It does seem to be one of the ‘forgotten’ illness’s and just doesn’t attract the press, maybe (being slightly controversial here) it’s got something to do with the fascination that the press and media have with breasts which gives things like breast cancer more emphasis ….!

  12. Hi Gina, it is true to say that there is a link between the two but that it isn’t always the only factor involved. My cousin died 18 months ago as a result of Uterine Cancer, she was only in her early 40’s and had been incredibly slim all her life. All we can report are the research stats and they do tend to show that high BMI is a strong indicator for increased risk.

  13. I don’t find it very helpful that the potential link between weight and uterine cancer has been emphasised in all of the articles about this research over and above all of the other risk factors. I’ve never gone over my recommended BMI in my entire life and lived a healthy lifestyle for about 25 years before getting cancer to try to avoid diabetes & heart problems, which run on both sides of the family. I knew intellectually that I was at risk because I hadn’t been able to have children, but was fairly complacent about it because I was fit and healthy. Nobody thinks cancer will happen to them. The other thing is that the signs that I’d got cancer weren’t as dramatic as post menstrual ‘bleeding’. One episode of spotting i.e. literally one spot, followed by another one 6 weeks later, then another one 3 weeks after that (that’s when I went to the doctors). I thought it would be something and nothing because it seemed so minor. However I had to have the full works, hysterectomy, chemo, radiotherapy, brackytherapy.

  14. I’m a womb cancer survivor and wasn’t overweight at all. I’d eaten sensibly and healthily all my life, have never smoked and don’t drink alcohol. I’m not diabetic, don’t have insulin resistance issues, don’t have PCOS, have never used oestrogen-only hormone treatment and have one child. I was 50 at diagnosis which I was told was young for this cancer. I was also not post-menopausal which might well have been a contributing factor, but I was told that I didn’t fit the main risk factors and was fit and healthy so my cancer was considered random and was wanted for research. I believe it’s something like 60% of womb cancer cases that are not weight related? Womb cancer is considered to mostly affect post-menopausal women with a high oestrogen level – the same group mostly affected by breast cancer? Yet womb cancer has a much lower profile and is given seemingly only negative press.

  15. I had a very small bleed in Jan 2011 ( probably less than a teaspoon full )being 3.5 years after my last period. I phoned the doctor that day and was seen within 2 hours. A scan revealed I had thickening of the endometrium, albeit minimal. A hysteroscopy found a small polyp which was removed, it transpired there was evidence of cancer cells. A total hysterectomy was performed and luckily for me there was no cancer within the womb/fallopean tubes/cervix or ovaries, it was very early stage and rising in the polyp only. My doctor and the hospital were terrific, from diagnosis to hysterectomy was 3 weeks, they moved very quickly. I would stress to any women, no matter how small the sympton get it checked out, it could save your life.

  16. im a womb cancer survivor and i had post menopausal bleeding but nothing eles from seeing my gp to actually having the hystectomy was 1 month very quick and ive never looked back. my weight was a factor im sure of that so i have purposly lost two and a half stone and im a new is good i am so gratful to my hospital for such wonderful care. i still have 1 more year left for check ups but everything is goooood.

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