Endometrial Cancer Treatment
the times, treatment of endometrial cancer consists of surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.
However, the treatment varies depending on your age and general health, the stage and/or the location of the
metastasis. Your doctor can use a combination of these therapies to increase your chance of
Surgery is considered the
essential treatment of endometrial cancer; it is fairly the safest medical procedure to eliminate the tumor.
Depending on the stage of the cancer, your surgeon may perform a hysterectomy, removal of all or part of the
uterus; or a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (TAH-BSO), removal of the uterus along with the
vagina, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
TAH-BSO is usually done
under general anesthesia and requires a hospital stay. Although this method is new and less common, your surgeon
can perform a laparoscopic surgery to remove the tumor.
surgery – also called minimally
invasive surgery (MIS), a laparoscopic surgery is a recent
surgical technique consists of operating an organ of the abdomen through small incisions. This method allows
quicker recovery than other abdominal surgeries that involve large cuts.
However, any surgical
method performed involving removal of your uterus will make you unable to conceive. Talk to your surgeon if you plan to get pregnant in the future.
For a stage I endometrial
cancer, surgery is sometimes the only treatment necessary. In advanced or metastatic cancer, however,
chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormone therapy may be associated with the surgery.
Radiotherapy (radiation therapy)
In case of endometrial
cancer stages II, III or IV, surgery must be followed by radiation therapy to destroy locally the cancerous
cells and reduce the risk of recurrence or metastasis. In rare cases, however, radiotherapy can be administered
before surgery in order to reduce the size of the tumor to facilitate the removal. In general, your physician
will recommend internal radiotherapy or external radiation therapy; sometimes, both methods are
External beam radiation therapy
– this form of radiotherapy involves
projecting high-dose of X-rays to the tumor and a small surrounding healthy to kill cancer cells or slow
their multiplication. External radiation therapy is usually administered five days a week for several weeks
Internal radiation therapy – in this form of radiotherapy, the radiation is placed
very close to or inside the tumor. During an endometrial cancer
internal radiation therapy, the radioactive materials (wires, plastic tubes, ribbons, capsules, or seeds) are
inserted into the vagina for several hours to several days. The internal radiation therapy always requires
Chemotherapy involves use
of a combination of powerful chemical substances (drugs) to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is recommended in
the treatment of endometrial cancer, if the cancer is very aggressive -a cancer that spreads very quickly or has
spread beyond the endometrium. In the treatment of endometrial cancer, chemotherapy drugs are usually
administered intravenously to navigate the bloodstream to reach all parts of the body. Your doctor may
administer several medications (polychemotherapy) at the same time to facilitate the destruction of the
However, the chemotherapy
drugs attack both the tumor cells and normal cells which multiply rapidly causing side effects. Side effects
vary from one person to another, from one drug to another. Adverse effects most commonly associated with
endometrial cancer drugs include:
- low blood cells
- stomach pain and
- loss of
- temporary hair
vulnerability to infections.
the cancer has spread into your body, you can be recommended to take hormone drugs to stop the tumor from
growing. Like chemotherapy, hormonetherapy is a systemic therapy that affects your entire body.
Hormone therapy in the treatment of endometrial cancer usually
involves taking synthetic progestin to stop the proliferation of cancer cells. If your doctor thinks it will be
helpful, he can prescribe you gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists to lower your estrogen levels.
Therapy is most often used to treat advanced or recurrent cancers of the endometrium. Some of their side effects
- increased risk of
heart disease and breast cancer
- weight gain
- fluid retention and
- increased risk of
- anxiety and
- skin disorders