Risk Factors for Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer

A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop uterine cancer with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of uterine cancer. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Some factors like age, cannot be changed. Uterine cancer is more common in women aged 50 years and older. Risk increases with age.

Other risk factors are related to levels of certain hormones in the body. In particular, increased levels estrogen and decreased levels of progesterone. There are a number of conditions or factors that can make this happen.

Medical Conditions and Treatments

Medical conditions or treatments that may increase the risk of uterine cancer include:

Other factors that may increase risk include:

  • No history of pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Menstruation that starts at early age or later age for menopause—creates longer exposure to the effects of estrogen

Abnormal Endometrial Cells

Increased estrogen can lead to an abnormal growth of cell. This is called endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia (EIN). EIN cells can grow into uterine cancer. Treatment may include hormonal therapy or surgery. Tests may also be done to see if cancer has developed.

Genetic and Family History

Having an immediate family member with a history of uterine cancer increases the risk uterine cancer.

Lynch syndrome is a genetic condition. It is associated with an increased risk of uterine, colon, and rectal cancers. Cancer may develop in people in their 40s.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors that increase uterine cancer risk include:

  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • High fat, high calorie diet


Committee on Gynecologic Practice, Society of Gynecologic Oncology. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion no. 631. Endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;125(5):1272-1278. Available at: https://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Gynecologic-Practice/Endometrial-Intraepithelial-Neoplasia.
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Updated March 2017. Accessed December 4, 2017.
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Endometrial cancer risk factors. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrial-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html. Updated February 29, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2017.
Endometrial hyperplasia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113952/Endometrial-cancer. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2017.
General information about endometrial cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/uterine/patient/endometrial-treatment-pdq. Updated October 13, 2017. Accessed December 4, 2017.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 12/4/2017

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