Uterine cancer: Risk factors and potential causes

To this day, physicians often have trouble pinpointing the cause of a patient’s uterine cancer. While the causes of uterine cancer may be difficult to determine, several risk factors have been identified.

There are also certain potential risk factors that some researchers believe increase a woman’s risk of uterine cancer. Recently, certain chemicals have also been linked with an increased incidence of uterine cancer.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes and risk factors for uterine cancer.

Risk factors for uterine cancer

Here are some of the known risk factors for uterine cancer.


Age is one of the most significant risk factors for uterine cancer. All adult women can get uterine cancer. However, it is far more common for women who are 50 or older to develop this type of cancer. 


Obesity can increase the risk of developing many serious diseases. Uterine cancer is one of the cancers that obese women develop more frequently than women who are not obese. One of the reasons that some doctors recommend bariatric surgery for obese women is to decrease the risk of certain cancers, including uterine cancer.

A history of fertility problems

Women have had trouble getting pregnant in the past may be predisposed to uterine cancer. The same is true of women who had five or fewer periods per year. This applies to both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. 


Tamoxifen is a drug that is often prescribed to women with breast cancer. It can also be prescribed to healthy women to prevent breast cancer. Unfortunately, taking tamoxifen can increase your risk of developing uterine cancer.

Family history

Women who have a family history of uterine cancer are more likely to develop uterine cancer themselves. A family history of colon and ovarian cancer can also increase the risk that you will develop uterine cancer. This only applies to women who have had close family members like parents or siblings develop these types of cancer.

Taking estrogen

It is common for women going through menopause to be prescribed estrogen to manage their hormone levels. However, women who take estrogen during menopause have a much higher risk of developing uterine cancer. This only applies to women who take estrogen by itself. It does not apply to women who took estrogen with progesterone. 

Why race is a disputed risk factor

It was long thought that black women were genetically predisposed to uterine cancer. This is because black women are far more likely to get uterine cancer more than women from other demographics.

However, new evidence has come to light that suggests that the increased incidence of uterine cancer among black women is actually due to external factors.

How endocrine-disrupting chemicals are a potential cause of uterine cancer

A new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has shown that chemical hair straightening can cause uterine cancer. Black women are much more likely to use hair straightening chemicals than women from other demographics.

This may partially or even completely explain why black women are much more likely to get uterine cancer than women from other races.