Services and Programs
Endometrial Cancer Treatments
How Is Endometrial Cancer Treated?
The treatment for endometrial cancer often consists of a combination of the following treatments: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Multiple factors, including the stage of the disease, your general health, and age are taken into account when making this decision. Your doctor will discuss your specific treatment options with you.
Most patients with endometrial cancer will have surgery as the initial step of treatment. Many patients will not require any additional treatment after surgery, though some will be recommended chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Usually, this involves removing the uterus and cervix (a procedure called a hysterectomy). Most patients will also have their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. This procedure is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO). In many cases lymph nodes will be removed to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the uterus; if it has, the surgeon may attempt to remove it in a process known as debulking. If endometrial cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, then the surgeon (gynecologic oncologist) has a greater chance of removing all of the cancer. If patients are diagnosed at a later stage, then patients may require more than one surgical procedure.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat cancer. The drugs are either taken orally or injected through a vein directly into the bloodstream. There are several chemotherapy drugs that can be used to treat endometrial cancer. Your physician (medical oncologist) will discuss these options with you to determine the best treatment plan. Some patients may experience side effects while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. These side effects may include nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, mouth sores, and hand and foot rashes. However, in recent years, chemotherapy treatment has improved significantly and has become much more manageable for patients.
Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. It may be given by placing radioactive materials inside the body near where the cancer has originated in a procedure known as brachytherapy or through a machine outside the body in a procedure known as external beam radiation therapy. You may receive one or both types of radiation therapy depending on your stage of cancer and your overall treatment plan. Your radiation oncologist will discuss these options with you.
Common side effects from radiation therapy may include fatigue, urinary changes, diarrhea, and weight loss. Every patient's individual response to therapy is different.
BMC’s comprehensive endometrial cancer team includes physicians who work in surgical oncology specific to gynecology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology. Our patient-centered, multidisciplinary approach assures each patient benefits from the collaborative expertise of physicians uniquely focused on their individual needs. Meet our team.
Cancer researchers are dedicated to understanding the causes of endometrial cancer and improving treatment options. Promising new techniques in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with cancer are tested in research studies called clinical trials. A research nurse will screen all willing patients who may benefit from a new practice or drug to determine if they are eligible to participate in a study. For more information on clinical trials, ask your physician or nurse.
BMC offers a number of clinical trials specifically for endometrial cancer patients to advance new treatment options for patients. The number and types of clinical trials available are constantly changing. View an up-to-date list of ongoing trials here. If you are interested in participating in any clinical trials at BMC, please talk with your physician.
To learn more about the various services we offer our cancer patients and to view our most recent quarterly newsletter and event calendar, please visit our Cancer Support Services website.
Patients have the option of working with a patient navigator who may provide support services related to their care. Patient navigators may be useful in providing assistance for the following services:
Social workers are available to provide additional support services to patients and families and to help with emotional, psychological, and social service needs. They are available on inpatient and outpatient units. Social workers can meet with you before or after your doctor’s appointment. You can discuss these options with your physician or ask for a referral.
If you have concerns about your diet and nutrition during the course of your cancer treatment, you can meet with one of our nutritionists to discuss your dietary concerns. Nutritionists are also available to meet with you before or after your other appointments. Please talk with your physician or social worker if you are interested in seeing a nutritionist.