Medically reviewed by Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., FACOG
Endometriosis and endometrial cancer (also called uterine cancer) can be hard to tell apart.
Both involve the inner lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. And both can cause heavy bleeding. But, they aren’t related to each other.
You may wonder:
Is endometriosis a type of cancer? The answer is no. Endometriosis is when cells grow in places and ways that they shouldn’t. But it is not cancer.
Can endometriosis cause endometrial cancer? No. Endometriosis does not cause endometrial cancer.
How can you tell if you have endometriosis or endometrial cancer?
Check out this chart to learn more about each condition.
What is it?
When endometrial cells grow outside the uterus in parts of the body such as the bladder, bowels and intestines.
Cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus.
Who is most at risk?
Women may be at higher risk for endometriosis if they:
Have a family history of endometriosisStarted their before 11Have menstrual cycles(less than 27 days)Have heavy periods that last longer than 7 daysAre infertile, have never given birth or had kids at an older age
Women may be at higher risk for endometrial cancer if they:
Have never gotten pregnantHave obesityHave PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or other conditions that raise estrogen levelsTake hormone therapyHave a family history of certain cancersAre Black
What are the symptoms?
Severe crampsPelvic painPain during sex and/or while peeingHeavy periods
Heavy bleedingBleeding between periodsBleeding after menopause
When is it diagnosed?
Typically diagnosed in 30s and 40s, though younger women with unexplained pelvic pain may also be diagnosed
Typically diagnosed after menopause, but more women are being diagnosed younger
How is it diagnosed?
Surgery to confirm the presence of endometrial growths Positive response to medicine used to treat endometriosis
Pelvic examTransvaginal ultrasoundHysteroscopyBiopsy (taking a sample of tissue from the uterus)
What are the treatments?
Pain medicationHormonal therapy Surgery
Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)ChemotherapyRadiation
This resource was created with support from Merck.