Endometrial cancer

• The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus. Endometrial cancer usually occurs in women after the menopause, causing vaginal bleeding, though it can occur before the menopause, causing bleeding between periods.

• Endometrial cancer is often triggered by a hormone imbalance. Hormones are the chemical messengers that regulate the body's functions. Women have two main reproductive hormones, called oestrogen and progesterone. Progesterone, the hormone released when a woman ovulates, helps to protect against endometrial cancer. Progesterone is also present in hormonal contraceptives including the pill.

• A pre-cancerous form exists, called atypical endometrial hyperplasia. Depending on how abnormal the cells are, this can be treated with progesterone therapy or hysterectomy.