The uterus, also known as womb, is an organ of the female reproductive system located in the lower abdomen. It is a pear-shaped hollow muscular organ whose the interior is highly vascularized. It is the nest for the reception of the embryo and the development of the fetus. It has 3 layers; and connected to the fallopian tubes, the cervix and the vagina.
The inner lining of the wall, the endometrium, is sensitive to estrogens, which are female sex hormones. During menstrual cycle, the thickness of the endometrium increases to promote the establishment of the future embryo. The cervix is closed by a thick mucus which becomes thin and permeable to sperm only at the time of ovulation. If fertilization does not occur, the endometrium eventually destroyed, and becomes part of the menstruation.
Conversely, if fertilization occurs, the egg migrates from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes to ultimately stay in the uterus. As the fetus develops, the uterus extends up to 35 cm to facilitate the development of the placenta and the fetus. During childbirth (labor), the uterus undergoes muscle contractions in order to expel the newborn through the vagina.
Uterine Sarcoma (Cancer of the Uterus)
Uterine sarcoma is a very rare type of cancer in women. It is a condition in which malignant cells develop and reproduce in the muscles of the uterus or tissues that hold it. About 95% of these tumors are endometrial cancers; they develop in the inner lining of the uterus.
In terms general, there are three types of uterine sarcomas:
- Uterine carcinosarcoma(formerly called malignant mixed Müllerian tumors), which develops in the endometrium; it is the most common of the three types.
- Uterine leiomyosarcomas, which developsin the muscular wall of the uterus (myometrium); it is the second most common of uterine cancer.
- Endometrial stromal sarcoma, a type of tumor that affects the connective tissue of the endometrium; it is the rarest of these three types of cancer.