Cancer of the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus, is the most common form of gynecological cancer. Our experts have vast experience treating this disease.
The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Cancer of the endometrium, the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the endometrium.
Cancer of the endometrium is different from cancer of the muscle of the uterus, which is called uterine sarcoma. About 80 percent of all endometrial cancers are adenocarcinomas. Endometrial cancer is highly curable when found early. According to the American Cancer Society, about 49,560 cases of cancer of the uterine body will be diagnosed in the U.S. during 2013.
The symptoms of endometrial cancer can be easily confused with other conditions. These symptoms include:
These are signs of endometrial cancer. Less serious, noncancerous conditions may also cause these symptoms. If you have symptoms such as these that won't go away, and cannot be explained by other reasons, report them to your doctor.
The following have been suggested as risk factors for endometrial cancer:
Diagnosis includes a medical history and physical exam. It may also include one or more of the following:
Specific treatment for endometrial cancer will be determined by your doctor(s) based on:
The choice of treatment depends on the stage of cancer and whether it is just in the endometrium, or has spread to other parts of the uterus or other parts of the body. Generally, treatment for patients with cancer of the endometrium includes One or more of the following:
The surgeons at the Women's Cancer Center in Central Pa. specialize in minimally invasive procedures to treat endometrial cancer. The goals of surgery are to remove the cancer and to perform a biopsy. The results of your biopsy will help your doctor see if the cancer is spreading. The extent of the surgery depends on the size and stage of the cancer.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (such as gamma rays or x-rays) and particles (such as electrons, protons, or neutrons) to kill cancer cells. In treating vaginal cancers, radiation is delivered from outside the body in a procedure that is much like having a diagnostic x-ray. This is called external beam radiation therapy. It is sometimes used along with chemotherapy to treat more advanced cancers to shrink them so they can be removed with surgery. Radiation alone may be used to treat lymph nodes in the groin and pelvis. Another way to deliver radiation is to place radioactive material inside the vagina. One way to do this is called intracavitary brachytherapy. The 2 main types of intracavitary brachytherapy are low-dose rate (LDR) and high-dose rate (HDR). With these intracavitary methods, radiation mainly affects the tissue in contact with the cylinder. This often means less bladder and bowel side effects than what is seen with external beam radiation therapy.
Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances made by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow. If tests show that the cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (receptors), drugs, surgery, or radiation therapy is used to reduce the production of hormones or block them from working.
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