Womb (uterus) Cancer

  • Womb cancer is cancer that affects the womb.
  • The womb (uterus) is where a baby grows during pregnancy.
  • Most womb cancer usually starts in the lining of the womb (endometrium), this is also known as endometrial cancer.
  • How serious the womb cancer is depends on how big it is, if it has spread and your general health


Main symptoms of womb cancer can include:

  • bleeding or spotting from the vagina after the menopause
  • heavy periods from your vagina that is unusual for you
  • vaginal bleeding between your periods
  • a change to your vaginal discharge

Other symptoms of womb cancer can include:

  • a lump or swelling in your tummy or between your hip bones (pelvis)
  • pain in your lower back or between your hip bones (pelvis)
  • pain during sex
  • blood in your pee

You will be asked some questions about your health, family medical history, medical conditions and your symptoms.

Tell the GP if you or your family have any history of cancer or Lynch syndrome.

You may be asked to be examined, you can ask for a female doctor or nurse.

You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down, behind a screen. You’ll be given a sheet to put over you.

Then the GP may:

  • feel inside your vagina with 2 fingers while pressing on your tummy (they will be wearing gloves)
  • feel inside your bottom
  • gently put a smooth, tube-shaped tool (a speculum) into your vagina to check your cervix, like they do during cervical screening

The GP may ask to check inside your vagina like they do during a cervical screening.

They may also ask to check your tummy area and inside your bottom to feel for any lumps or changes in size or shape.

Before starting these checks, they should explain what will happen during them and answer any questions you have.

Referral to a specialist

The GP may refer you for more tests or to see a specialist in hospital if they think you have a condition that needs to be investigated.

This may be an urgent referral, usually within 2 weeks, if you have certain symptoms. This does not definitely mean you have cancer.


Anyone with a womb can get womb cancer, this includes trans men and non-binary people with a womb. It usually happens after menopause, in people over the age 40.

It’s not certain what causes womb cancer, but there are some things that can increase your chance of getting it.

Having a high level of a hormone called oestrogen is one of the main things that can increase your chance of getting womb cancer.

You may have high levels of oestrogen if you:

You may have a higher chance of getting womb cancer if you have:

  • diabetes
  • a family history of bowel, ovarian or womb cancer
  • inherited a rare gene that causes Lynch syndrome
  • taken medicines to treat like Tamoxifen (used to treat breast cancer)
  • had radiotherapy on your pelvis

You cannot always prevent womb cancer, but there are things you can do to lower your chance of getting it.

Tests and next steps

If a GP refers you to a specialist, you will have tests to check if you have womb cancer.

The tests you have will depend on your symptoms.

They can include:

  • a scan of your womb – a scanning device around the size of a finger is inserted into your vagina (transvaginal scan)
  • removing cells from the lining of your womb to be tested (biopsy)
  • blood tests

The tests should not be painful, but you may find some uncomfortable. Talk to a healthcare professional if you are feeling uncomfortable.

If you have a biopsy, you may have a small amount of cramping or bleeding from your vagina afterwards.

You should get the results of your tests within a few weeks.

Try not to worry if your results are taking longer than you expect. It does not mean anything is wrong.

You can call the hospital or GP if you’re worried. They should be able to update you.

A specialist will explain what the results mean and what will happen next. You may want to bring someone with you for support.

Being told you have womb cancer can feel overwhelming. You may be feeling anxious about what will happen next.

It can help to bring someone with you to any appointments you have.

A group of specialists will look after you throughout your diagnosis, during and after treatment.

Your team will include a clinical nurse specialist who will be your main point of contact during and after treatment.

You can ask them any questions you have.

If you’ve been told you have womb cancer, you’ll usually need more tests, such as:

These, along with the test you have had will help the specialists find out the size of the cancer and how far it’s spread (called the stage).

Find out about what womb cancer stages and grades mean on Cancer Research UK.

Your tests may show you have Lynch syndrome. This is a rare condition that can cause some types of cancer. If you have Lynch syndrome, it’s important for other people in your family who have a womb to get tested for it too.


Womb cancer is usually treatable when it’s found early.

The treatment you have for womb cancer will depend on:

  • the size of the cancer
  • where it is
  • if it has spread
  • your general health

It will usually include surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It may also include treatment with targeted medicines to treat the cancer.

The specialist care team looking after you will:

  • explain the treatments, benefits and side effects
  • work with you to create a treatment plan that’s best for you
  • help you manage any side effects, including any changes to your diet
  • talk to you about the impact your treatment may have on your fertility

You’ll have regular check-ups during and after any treatments. You may also have more tests and scans.

If you have any symptoms or side effects that you are worried about, talk to your specialists. You do not need to wait for your next check-up.

Surgery is often the main treatment for womb cancer. Especially if the cancer is found early.

Different surgeries involve removing:

  • your womb and cervix (hysterectomy)
  • your womb, ovaries, and fallopian tubes if cancer has spread there
  • lymph nodes around your womb or in your pelvis
  • the upper part of the vagina that connects to the cervix
  • your bladder or rectum if cancer has returned or spread there

Recovery from surgery can take a long time. Your specialist team looking after you talk to you about all the benefits and side effects.

If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, you may need to have a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy to remove as much of the cancer as possible.

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays of radiation to kill cancer cells.

You may have radiotherapy for womb cancer:

  • as the main treatment if you cannot have surgery
  • if the cancer is large or has spread
  • after surgery, usually with chemotherapy (chemoradiotherapy), to help stop the cancer coming back.

Chemotherapy is medicines that kill cancer cells.

You may have chemotherapy for womb cancer:

  • with radiotherapy (called chemoradiotherapy) as the main treatment for womb cancer if you can not have surgery
  • after surgery (usually with radiotherapy) to help stop the cancer coming back
  • to help slow the cancer down and ease symptoms if it has spread to other parts of your body

You may have hormone therapy to ease symptoms or shrink and control the cancer if it’s spread outside your womb to other parts in your body.

This treatment is suitable if you’re not well enough to have surgery or radiotherapy.

The clinical nurse specialist, or another member of your specialist team will be able to give you information on follow-up care after treatment.

It may also help to get support from family, friends or a support organisation, if you get anxious before or between appointments.

Macmillan Cancer Support has a free helpline that’s open every day from 8am to 8pm.

They’re there to listen if you have anything you want to talk about.

Call 0808 808 00 00.

Help and Support

If you have womb cancer, you and your loved ones will be supported throughout your treatment by a group of specialists.

The clinical nurse specialist, or another member of your specialist team will be able to give you information on local support services that you may find helpful.

There are also national cancer charities that offer support and information about womb cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Information and support for anyone affected by cancer.

Cancer Research UK

Information and support for anyone affected by cancer.

Eve Appeal

Information and support for anyone affected by womb cancer.

Maggie’s Centres

Information and support for anyone affected by cancer.