Uterine cancer, the third most common form of malignancy in women, is caused by abnormal proliferation of cells that line uterus. In medical terms, it is also referred to as endometrial cancer and most common in women undergoing postmenopausal stage.
If compared to other cancers, the early detection and timely treatment of this type of malignancy results in good prognosis and hence the patient’s chances of survival increase manifold. Endometrial cancer is treatable by several medical procedures, the most common being the surgery. Let’s elucidate these procedures one by one.
Common Uterine Cancer Treatments
What the doctors mostly recommend for a uterine cancer patient is partial or total hysterectomy which involves removal of either the entire infected uterus including cervix and fundus, or the uterus alone. The hysterectomy is performed by making an incision through abdomen and the maligned uterus is taken out along with other reproductive structures.
is also done in many cases and is done via cut made through vagina. Doctors prefer doing abdominal hysterectomy as it enables in finding out advancement of the cancer to the surrounding parts. The women undergoing this surgical procedure cannot become pregnant in their lives.
is another procedure for the treatment of uterine cancer and enables the surgeons to see if the tumour has spread to lymph nodes present outside the uterus. If these are found cancerous, they are removed surgically. Lymphadenectomy helps in determining the stage as well as the extent of the malignant tissues.
Hysterectomy is, sometimes, followed by another procedure called oophorectomy which involves ovary-removal. This is done in order to decrease the possibility of ovarian cancer development. On the negative side, it reduces the longevity of the patient and makes her susceptible to many other medical problems such as osteoporosis.
These procedures have a far reaching repercussion over emotional as well as physical health of a woman.
Female hormones like estrogen, progesterone carry with them the receptors where cancerous cells can bind themselves; in order to counteract the functioning of these tumours, doctors inject some steroidal hormones to repress the activity of the hormones already present in body. Such a treatment is often done on women with advanced cancer stages. It can also be an option for those women who do not want to loose their fertility.
Highly focused radiations are used for targeting tumour cells and killing them. This therapy can be used in all the stages of cancer and can be an alternative to surgery. The radiation is directed on uterine and the surrounding areas; the procedure is repeated for several weeks. In many cases, radiation is done internally via vagina-the radioactive substance is inserted through it. The procedure is repeated over several weeks.
The injection of chemicals such as cisplatin in the blood stream is termed chemotherapy. It is often given in combination with surgery and radiation; in cases where surgical removal of uterus is not possible, chemotherapy is given to the patients over a long period of time. It is effective in the early stages but for later stages, there always remains possibility of the recurrence of the disease.