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Womb cancer

Cancer of the womb (uterus) is when the cells in the womb grow in an abnormal way. A group of these cancer cells can form a tumour. Womb cancer can also be called uterine cancer.

About 460 women are diagnosed with womb cancer every year in Ireland. The most common type of womb cancer is endometrial cancer, which starts in the lining of the womb. Most womb cancers occur in women aged 50 to 64.

What is womb cancer?

Cancer of the womb (uterus) is when the cells in the womb change and grow in an abnormal way. A group of these cancer cells can form a tumour. Womb cancer can also be called uterine cancer.

There are different types of womb cancer but the most common type is endometrial cancer. This affects the lining of the womb (endometrium). Read more about the types of womb cancer.

What is the womb and what does it do? 

The womb is a muscular, pear-shaped organ found in your lower abdomen, between your bladder and back passage (rectum).

It is part of the female reproductive system, together with the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the cervix and the vagina. The womb is also called the uterus. 

The lining of your womb is called the endometrium. Every month this lining thickens, grows and then falls away from the womb as a monthly period. During pregnancy, your womb protects the growing baby.

There are also layers of muscle in the womb. 

The lower part of the womb is called the cervix or sometimes 'the neck of the womb'.

Although the cervix is part of the womb, cancer of the cervix is diagnosed and treated differently to cancer of the womb.

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