Female Cancers

My mother had endometrial cancer – am I more at risk?

There are some inherited conditions that do increase the risk of endometrial cancer. The most common is Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch Syndrome. It is associated with other cancers including colon, ovary, stomach and skin. People with this genetic condition are at higher risk of developing these cancers and they often occur at a younger age. However, genetic conditions only account for around 5% of new cases of endometrial cancer.

There are other, more significant risk factors. Obesity is one of the most important – estimated to cause 34% of cases of endometrial cancer. Diabetes is also a risk factor. Those who experience a late menopause or an early menarche (term for when someone starts to have periods), and those who have never had children also have an increased risk.

There are also things that can reduce your risk. Use of some hormonal contraceptives reduces the risk, as does the use of the combined form of HRT.

Overall, a family history of endometrial cancer can potentially put you at an increased risk, but there are other, often modifiable risk factors that are more significant.

If you do have a family history it would be helpful to find out more about it, particularly if it has affected multiple family members, at a young age, and whether other types of cancer have also been diagnosed. If this is the case your GP can refer you for further genetic assessment.

The Cancer Research UK Website has some very useful information

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/uterine-cancer/risk-factors

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