Uterine Sarcoma Treatment and Prevention
Uterine Sarcoma Treatment
Options and Side Effects
Uterine sarcoma treatment
includes different approaches, depending on the nature of the tumor, stage of development and whether the
cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic uterine sarcoma) or not. In addition, the age and
general health of the patient are usually considered by the medical team.
But in general, there are
four main therapies used to therapeutically help women diagnosed with uterine sarcoma: surgery, radiotherapy,
chemotherapy, and hormone therapy
Surgical Therapy - Surgery is the most common treatment of uterine
sarcoma. The surgical procedure performed depends on the type, location and stage of the cancer. It may consist in
hysterectomy, removal of the uterus; bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes;
or lymphadenectomy, removal of some lymph nodes in the pelvis and around the aorta.
Side Effects: while maybe helpful in curing or prolonging the life of
the patient, these surgeries are associated with adverse effects. Even when successful, three to seven days of
hospitalization are required, and recovery can take from two to six weeks, depending on the type of surgery
performed. In addition, any woman undergoes any of these surgeries will not be able to have children. Removal of
the ovaries will lead to menopause even if the woman was not at age at onset of menopause.
Radiotherapy - Radiation therapy consists of using x-rays
or high energy
radiation to damage the DNA of
cancer cells in order to shrink the tumor. In uterine sarcoma treatment, the radiation is usually external, the
rays come from a machine located outside the body. The radiation therapy can be used alone or in association with
Side Effects: uterine sarcoma radiation therapy side effects are less
severe than those of surgery, regardless of the type of procedure. They include fatigue; irritation, infection,
skin discoloration, diarrhea. Radiation to the pelvic area can also lead to premature menopause, irritation of the
bladder, and vaginalstenosis (narrowing of the vagina
due to the scar tissue).
Chemotherapy – this is a systematic treatment which involves the use of
anti-cancer chemicals to kill cancer cells in the entire body. The chemotherapy agents may be given to the patient
orally or by intravenous or intramuscular injection. The fact that chemo drugs affect the entire bloodstream, thus
travel throughout the body and can kill cancer cells outside the uterus, they tend to cause more general side
effects than radiotherapy and surgery.
Side effects: although the chemo affects cells of the entire body,
its antineoplastic substances target mainly
cells that quickly reproduce, which is the main nature of cancer cells. The problem is the fact certain other
cells, in particular cells of the digestive tract, hair follicles and bone marrow, divide rapidly as well.
These healthy cells are damaged by the chemotherapy which causes many side effects.
chemotherapy tends to lead to paleness, decreased blood cells, infection,
fatigue, temporary hair loss, sores in the mouth and/or vagina, menstrual changes and infertility. Patients
do not experience these chemotherapy side effects all at once, and they usually disappear after cessation of
the treatment and recovery. In addition, there are medicines or alternative treatments to reverse or minimize
many of these adverse reactions.
Hormonal Therapy – In uterine sarcoma treatment, hormone therapy is the
use of hormone-blocking
drugs, generally in the form of
pills, to reduce or stop the reproduction of cancer cells which need hormone to reproduce. This therapy is
recommended mainly in the treatment of endometrial stromal sarcomas. Some of the drugs which
can be prescribed include megestrol (Megace®) and medroxyprogesterone
(Provera®), goserelin (Zoladex®) and leuprolide (Lupron®), letrozole
(Femara®), anastrozole (Arimidex®).
Side Effects – some common side effects of hormonal drugs include
increased blood sugar levels (in pre or diabetic patients), hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain (due to fluid
retention and/or increased appetite), blood clots (rarely), vaginal dryness, weaken bones, osteoporosis,
Uterine Sarcoma Prevention
The fact the
causes of the cancer are not well known and there are few specific risk factors, establishing uterine
sarcoma prevention methods is challenging. In general, there is no possible prevention.
Uterine sarcoma diagnosis and Stages