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Why is the impact of Endometrial Cancer important to Albertans?

Cancer of the uterus is the 4th most common cancer among women in Alberta, and 95 out of 100 of these cancers occur in the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer).1 About 505 women were diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2012.2

  • The risk of getting endometrial cancer starts rising at age 30, peaks at about age 65, and then gets lower for older women.
  • Between 1992 and 2012, there was a small increase in the rate of new uterine cancer cases diagnosed every year.1

What can I do?

Experts in Alberta agree that we can prevent about 50 out of 100 cases of endometrial cancer.2 Here’s how:

Being overweight is linked to about 30% of new cancer cases.

The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) recommend adults stay at a healthy body weight3 and keep their body mass index (BMI) in the normal range. Use our BMI Tool to find the healthy weight range for you.

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Not being active enough is linked to about 20% of new cancer cases.

To prevent cancer, the WCRF/AICR recommend being active4 (e.g., brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes each day and limiting sedentary habits like watching television.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is medication used to treat the symptoms of menopause. HRT is linked to about 11% of new endometrial cancer cases. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends women not use HRT for any reason other than to help the symptoms of menopause that don’t respond to other treatments. The Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program recommends using HRT for no longer than 5 years. Within 2 years of stopping HRT, a woman’s risk of breast cancer goes back to that of the general population. Speak with your health care provider about the risks and benefits of HRT.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)5 has found that taking birth control pills appears to lower the risk of endometrial cancer. In Alberta, research suggests that taking the birth control pill could prevent about 57% of new cases of endometrial cancer. But we know that taking birth control pills increases the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer,5 especially in women who are taking or who stopped taking them in the last 10 years. It’s important for women to speak with their health care provider about their own and their family history of cancer and other health conditions if they’re thinking about taking birth control pills.

More information on endometrial cancer symptoms, diagnosis and treatment at MyHealth Alberta.

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