Is uterine cancer curable?

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Once you’re diagnosed with uterine cancer, you have to approach the health care provider for an effective cancer treatment. Surgery is the most important treatment for uterine cancer, although there are different methods to treat this cancer that depend on the personal circumstances.

Your doctor will recommend you the treatment based on a variety of factors, including the tumor type, the tumor’s grade and stage, and other related medical issues.

Uterine cancer treatment

Usually, uterus cancer is treated by one or a combination of different treatments, such as radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. In most of the cases, combinations of treatments are recommended. Treatment options and recommendations depend on various factors, such as the type and stage of cancer, risks as well as side effects, and the overall health of a woman.

Surgery

This process is the removal of the tumor and the surrounding healthy tissue during an operation. It is the first treatment used for uterus cancer.

Common surgeries for uterine cancer include:

  • Hysterectomy. In the process, the doctor removes the uterus and cervix or radical hysterectomy the removal of the uterus, cervix, the upper part of the vagina, and surrounding tissues take place. For patients who have gone through menopause, the doctor will perform a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy that means the removal of both fallopian tubes and ovaries. To perform hysterectomy the surgeon will either use a traditional surgery with 1 large incision or laparoscopy, which uses several smaller incisions.
  • Lymph node dissection. During the process of hysterectomy, the surgeon may also remove lymph nodes surrounding the tumor to check whether cancer has spread beyond the uterus.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy. In some cases, a sentinel lymph node biopsy is performed. This biopsy helps the doctor to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Radiation therapy

In this therapy, the doctor uses high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. A radiation therapy schedule usually has a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time. The most common radiation therapy is called external-beam radiation therapy, which is given from a machine outside the body.

The type of radiation therapy for endometrial cancer may include radiation therapy directed towards the whole pelvis or applied only to the vaginal cavity often called intravaginal radiotherapy (IVRT) or vaginal brachytherapy.

Chemotherapy

In this therapy, the surgeon use drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by inhibiting the cancer cells to grow and divide. Systemic chemotherapy gets into the bloodstream to attack cancer cells throughout the body. The most common ways chemotherapy include an intravenous (IV) tube inserted into a vein using a needle or in a pill or capsule that is taken orally.

Hormone therapy

This therapy is used to curb the growth of specific types of uterine cancer cells that have receptors to the hormones to them. Hormone therapy for uterine cancer consists of a high dose of the sex hormone progesterone, given in the form of pills. Other hormone therapies include the aromatase inhibitors (AIs) that are used the breast cancer in women, such as exemestane (Aromasin), Letrozole (Femara), and anastrozole (Arimidex).

Side effects of hormone therapy in some patients’ fluid retention increase in appetite, insomnia, muscle aches and weight gain.

Types of treatment depending on the stage

Stage I

  • Surgery alone
  • Surgery along with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Hormone therapy with a progesterone-type drug
  • Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Stage II

  • Surgery with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy

Stage III

  • Surgery with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy

Stage IV

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
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