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Women’s Cancer Communication Project

Coordinated by the European Institute of Women’s Health

This type of cancer can occur in women during childbearing years. It is a rare type of cancer in which the cancer cells grow in the tissues that are formed following conception (the joining together of sperm and egg). It starts inside the womb. There are two types of tumours:-

  1. Hydatiform mole/molar pregnancy.
    • In this tumour the sperm and egg cells have joined but there is no baby developing in the uterus.
    • Instead the tissue formed resembles grape like cysts.
    • This type can spread from the uterus to other parts of the body.
  2. Choriocarcinoma.
    • This type may start from a hydatiform mole or from tissue that remains following an abortion, delivery of a baby, or miscarriage.
    • This type can spread from the uterus to other parts of the body.


Signs and symptoms are not easy to detect; in it’s early stages it may look like a normal pregnancy.
You should see your doctor immediately if:

  • If you have bleeding from your vagina.
  • If your uterus gets bigger after you have given birth, had an abortion, or a miscarriage.
  • If you are pregnant and you have not felt the baby move at the expected times.
  • Excessive vomiting.


If suspected your doctor may use several tests to examine for the presence of this cancer. These include an internal pelvic exam and an ultrasound. A blood test may also be carried out to test for high levels of a certain hormone which is present during pregnancy. If however you are not pregnant and the hormone is still found in your blood, it can be a sign of a gestational trophoblastic tumour.


Two kinds of treatment are used to treat this kind of cancer. These are: Surgery and Chemotherapy. Radiotherapy may also be used in certain cases. – The type of treatment chosen depends on the stage of the cancer, your age and your overall health.

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