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 What is the difference between leiomyosarcoma and uterine stromal sarcoma? Is there a difference between uterine and endometrial cancer?

I was initially diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma which was then changed to uterine stromal sarcoma. My first question is: what is the difference between the two? And my second question is: what is the difference between uterine and endometrial cancer?

 William M. Rich, MD (Febuary 6, 2006):

In general, there are three parts to the uterus. The large muscular wall is made of smooth muscle and is called the myometrium. The inner, functional part of the uterus is called the endometrium. The endometrium is composed of a stroma, which is a background supporting type tissue and the epithelium which is the surface lining of the inside of the uterus.

The terms "cancer of the uterus" or "uterine cancer" usually refer to a cancer of the epithelial lining. About 95% of uterine cancers arise from the lining, the remaining 5% are sarcomas. A leiomyosarcoma is a sarcoma of the smooth muscle wall. An endometrial stromal sarcoma is a sarcoma of the endometrial stroma, as you would guess.

In general, the usual adenocarcinoma of the lining is more successfully treated than any of the sarcomas. You can read more about it at and the links at that site.

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The "Answers from the Pros" are given in general terms, and are not intended to address individual medical needs. "Answers from the Pros" does not give medical advice, but answers medical questions that always should be verified with your doctor and care team. Do not rely solely on the answers you receive from the "Answers from the Pros" section. Do not make any changes in your treatment or medications, without consulting your doctor. If you have an emergency, call 911 or your physician.