Although cervical cancer may garner the headlines and be the primary reason thousands of women visit their doctors each year for routine Pap tests, this cancer is not the most common cancer of the reproductive organs. Cancer of the uterus is more common than cervical cancer and ovarian cancer.
The National Cancer Institute says that more than 47,000 women will be diagnosed with uterine cancer in the United States in 2012 alone. Most women diagnosed with uterine cancer will be over the age of 55. The majority of the cases of uterine cancer occur in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, according to The Mayo Clinic.
Uterine cancer and endometrial cancer are terms that are often used interchangeably. This cancer may start with polyps or fibroids that grow inside the uterus. Because uterine cancer generally causes abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain and other symptoms, it can be diagnosed early when women visit their physician.
If a woman is beyond childbearing age, surgically removing the uterus often eliminates all of the cancer and is an effective means of treatment.