Uterine sarcoma is a rare type of uterine cancer where the proliferation of the cancer cells usually begins in the muscles and supporting tissues of the uterus (womb) and gradually stretches out inwards to the uterus.

Also Read: Uterine Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Uterine Sarcoma

The uterus is a hollow organ, generally about the size and shape of a medium-sized pear. It chiefly comprises 3 layers:

  • The inner layer or lining is known as the endometrium
  • The layer of tissue coating the outside of the uterus is known as a serosa
  • The middle thick layer of muscle is known as the myometrium. It is this muscular layer of the uterus that is needed to push a baby out during childbirth.

Uterine sarcoma is often misconstrued as endometrial cancer but the latter usually develops in the endometrial lining rather than the muscular tissue of the uterus. Most uterine sarcomas on the other hand are quite aggressive and spread quickly to other nearby tissues. Uterine sarcomas are quite rare, making up only 3% to 7% of all uterine cancers.


Just like any other variety of cancer, the precise cause of uterine sarcoma is yet unknown. But studies state that it usually occurs when there is a change or mutation in the genetic material of the DNA strands of the myometrium. This causes the healthy myometrium cells to divide and grow rapidly, without dying and eventually amassing to form tumorous structures. The tumorous structures can often be non-cancerous and termed benign tumours and the ones with cancer cells are termed malignant tumours.

Also Read: Ovarian Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Risk Factors

Several causative factors increase the risk of getting uterine sarcoma. It is chiefly seen in women:

  • Above the age of 40
  • Obesity
  • African – American in descent
  • Diagnosed with autoimmune diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Have a record of infertility, irregular periods, or abnormal cells in the endometrium (called endometrial hyperplasia)
  • Have a family history of colorectal, endometrial, or breast cancer
  • Undergoing hormone therapy for breast cancer
  • Undergoing past or current treatment with the medication tamoxifen for breast cancer
  • Underwent past radiation therapy for pelvic cancer
  • Have an unusual gene that causes an eye cancer called retinoblastoma
  • Have never been pregnant


The popular signs and symptoms of uterine sarcoma include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding unrelated to periods
  • A lump or growth in the vagina or pelvis
  • Smelly vaginal discharge
  • Pain while urination and/or sex
  • Abdominal and pelvic pains
  • Enlarged uterus
  • A feeling of heaviness or fullness in the uterus
  • Constipation
  • Sudden weight loss

Diagnosis And Treatment

On noticing any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, do discuss with a gynaecologist or specialist to get it tested right away and start the treatment at the earliest. The doctor primarily does a routine physical checkup followed by some diagnostics which include:

  • Examination of the pelvis including the vagina, cervical area, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum
  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Certain imaging procedures like Chest X-ray, CT-scan, PET-scsn or MRI-scan
  • Hysteroscopy
  • Pap test
  • Endometrial Biopsy
  • Staging of the cancer

Staging Of Uterine Sarcoma

The stages of uterine sarcoma are:

  • Stage I: The cancer cells are only in the uterus
  • Stage II: Cancer has spread in the pelvic region beyond the uterus
  • Stage III: The cancer cells have metastasized to surrounding areas in the abdomen outside the pelvis, including the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV: Cancer cells have dissipated to distant areas outside the abdomen, even in the bladder or rectum


The available treatment options usually consist of:

Surgery: This includes hysterectomy, Total hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy, Radical hysterectomy, Lymphadenectomy, and Laparotomy

Radiation therapy: The cancer cells are destroyed using powerful energy beams, such as X-rays and protons

Chemotherapy: The cancer cells are killed using a combination of two or more chemicals

Hormone therapy: Medications are used to curtail the hormone levels that stimulate the growth of cancer cells

Targeted Drug Therapy: Medications are used to target specific weaknesses of the cancer cells to eventually kill them

Supportive care: Specialized medical care is delivered that focuses on providing solace from pain and other symptoms while recovering from the cancerous condition