Womb Cancer

Womb cancer is the most common gynaecological cancer, and affects 9,300 people a year. If you have a womb you are at risk of womb cancer. This is relevant to you if you have not had a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the womb).

Symptoms

The main symptoms are abnormal bleeding:

  • Bleeding after the menopause
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding that is unusually heavy
  • Blood stained discharge – from light to dark brown

If you have ovaries, you may still have monthly bleeding with your cycle. If you are taking testosterone, it is likely you may have a change in periods or they may stop completely. Every person is different and bodies react differently to hormones. It is important to know your normal, and if anything changes, speak to a doctor.

Risk factors

Obesity

Obesity can increase the risk of womb cancer by tenfold, as fat cells produce oestrogen. Oestrogen, if not balanced by a second reproductive hormone, progesterone, can lead to abnormal growth of the cells lining the womb and increase the risk of cancer, so the risk remains even if you have had your ovaries removed.

Testosterone

There is currently not much research out there around the effects of testosterone on gynaecological cancer risk. Some studies have indicated that if you have been taking testosterone and have a womb, you may have an increased risk of womb cancer due to the effect of testosterone on the womb lining (endometrium). The current recommendation is for trans men and non-binary people who have a womb and have been taking testosterone for more than two years, to have a pelvic ultrasound every two years.

Hereditary cancer risk

A very small percentage of people develop womb cancer because of an inherited genetic condition called Lynch Syndrome. If one of your immediate family members knows they have Lynch syndrome you will be eligible for testing. You should also consider being tested if several members of your family have suffered from bowel, womb or breast cancer. You can find out more about Lynch Syndrome here.