Types of womb cancer

Most womb cancers develop from cells in the lining of the womb (the endometrium). Because of this they are called endometrial cancers.

Endometrial womb cancer

Most womb cancers start in glandular cells found in the lining of the womb (the endometrium). These are called endometrial cancers. These are the most common type of womb cancer. They are usually diagnosed early and treated successfully. This information is about endometrial cancers.

There are different types of endometrial cancer:

  • endometrioid cancer
  • serous endometrial carcinoma (also called uterine serous carcinoma)
  • carcinosarcoma (these cancers are not sarcomas, despite their name)
  • clear cell carcinoma
  • mucinous carcinoma
  • mixed cell endometrial cancer.

About 3 out of 4 womb cancers (75%) are endometrioid cancers. They are usually grade 1 or grade 2 and are diagnosed at an early stage. The womb is sometimes also called the uterus.

Types of endometrial womb cancer

Type 1 endometrial cancers

These cancers are slow growing and are usually diagnosed at an early stage. They include grade 1 and grade 2 endometrioid cancers and all mucinous cancers.

Type 2 endometrial cancers

These cancers are always high-grade (grade 3) and usually grow more quickly. They include:

  • serous endometrial carcinoma
  • carcinosarcoma
  • clear cell carcinoma
  • grade 3 endometrioid cancers
  • mixed cell endometrial cancers.

Other types of womb cancer

Some cancers start in the supporting tissues of the womb, or in the muscle layer of the womb (the myometrium). These are called soft tissue sarcomas. The most common type of sarcoma of the womb is leiomyosarcoma.

We have more information about soft tissue sarcomas.

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    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Nick Reed, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.

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