Uterine cancer is a cancer that affects the uterus of a woman. Most cases of uterine cancer are diagnosed in the later stages and hence surgical removal of the entire or part of the reproductive organ becomes necessary.
Once the surgery is conducted which is known as hysterectomy, the treatment needs to be continued in order to prevent recurrence and also to remove any cancer cells that might still be present after the surgery has been done.
Treatment After A Hysterectomy Due To Uterine Cancer
Hysterectomy is of two kinds, namely total abdominal hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy. In total abdominal hysterectomy which is the most commonly done procedure, the uterus and the cervix are removed. This procedure is usually done when the abdominal cavity requires inspection as in the case of cancer.
Vaginal hysterectomy is a laparoscopic procedure in which the uterus is removed through the vaginal canal. It is done for simpler conditions like uterine prolapsed and endometrial hyperplasia.
Radiation Therapy After Hysterectomy
After hysterectomy, radiation therapy is administered to the patient. Radiation therapy ensures that any trace of cancer cells that have been left behind after surgery are destroyed. Radiation therapy is mostly the norm of treatment when the cancer is at its early stages.
Early stage cancer growth could be very small and surgery might not be an option due to the difficulty of reaching the cancer cells for surgical removal. Radiation therapy is a normal procedure for stopping the spread of cancer to other areas of the body.
High energy beams are used for destroying the cells at the site of origin. After hysterectomy, radiation treatment is administered to prevent recurrence and destruction of stray cells.
Chemotherapy too is a post operative procedure done after a hysterectomy due to uterine cancer. Chemotherapy is done along with radiation treatment. It targets the full body and helps in destroying cancer cells that might have spread to other parts of the body through lymph node involvement.
Chemotherapy has many side effects as it destroys the healthy cells as well along with the rapidly dividing cancer cells. It also destroys the white blood cells which are crucial for immune system function.
Hormone Therapy After Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy is a complicated procedure which will change the entire reproductive cycle of a woman. A total hysterectomy which will remove the ovaries and other reproductive organs will stop a woman’s periods and she will enter menopause.
All symptoms and difficulties associated with menopause will surface at this time and most women go for hormone therapy to reduce the discomfort of a hysterectomy and the forced menopause. Symptoms like mood swings, night sweats and hot flashes could be difficult to get along with. Hormone therapy will help in reducing these symptoms and helping the patient cope with the sudden changes in the body.
Post Surgical Care
After a hysterectomy, pelvic pain could be particularly severe for which you will need pain medications. Infections such as yeast infections and UTI are common and antibiotics are administered for the same. Bleeding for a certain period is common and will stop on its own. Uncommon and prolonged bleeding may however pose some concern and must be checked by a doctor.