Uterine Cancer

Whether it’s common endometrial carcinoma or more rare uterine sarcoma, the good news is that you have the depth and breadth of the INTEGRIS Health behind you.

You’re not alone in this fight.

Uterine Cancer Basics

A cancer diagnosis is always life-changing, and uterine cancer is no different – whether it’s common endometrial carcinoma or the more rare form of uterine sarcoma.  The good news is that you have the depth and breadth of the INTEGRIS Health and the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute behind you, with the region’s foremost collection of therapies, physicians and specialists.

The Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic

Uterine cancer treatment used to mean dozens of appointments at different facilities with multiple specialists, but with our Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic, the process is streamlined. We gather our physicians and specialists in one room to decide the best course of treatment for you. That means the time you have to spend between diagnosis and treatment is dramatically reduced.

We’re here for you every step of the way, from the first diagnosis and staging to treatment and even beyond – with rehabilitation designed specifically for cancer survivors. We know this can be a challenging time, so please ask your physician about any concerns or questions you might have.

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Understanding Uterine Cancer

If you think you may be suffering from uterine cancer, it’s best to talk with your physician. Symptoms caused by uterine cancer could also be caused by a variety of other health problems, and only a doctor can accurately diagnose their cause. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Unusual bleeding, spotting, or discharge from the vagina
  • Any bleeding from the vagina after menopause
  • A mass or tumor in the lower abdomen (belly) that can be felt
  • Pain in the pelvic area or lower abdomen (belly)
  • Unexplained weight loss

If your doctor thinks you might have uterine cancer, exams and tests will be required to reach an accurate diagnosis. This begins with your physician asking questions about your health history, symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease, and may continue with more in-depth tests:

  • Pap Test: The Pap test can help your doctor find out if your symptoms might be caused by something other than uterine cancer. The doctor sends these cells to a lab to be looked at under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
  • Pelvic Exam: A pelvic exam is done after the Pap test. Your doctor will apply lubricant and then insert 1 or 2 gloved fingers into your vagina. He or she will use the other hand to press on your belly (abdomen) to check your uterus, ovaries, bladder, rectum, and vagina for lumps or anything else unusual.
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound: An ultrasound probe is inserted into your vagina. This can help your doctor see the thickness of the uterine lining and any tumors in the uterus or in the muscle wall of the uterus.
  • Endometrial Biopsy: A biopsy of the endometrial lining can show if you have uterine sarcoma. This procedure is similar to getting a Pap smear and is usually done in your doctor’s office. The tissue is looked at under a microscope and checked for cancer cells. If cancer is found, tests will be done to find out what type it is.
  • Dilation & Curettage (D&C): A D&C is another kind of biopsy done when larger amounts of tissue samples are needed for testing because an endometrial biopsy wasn't clear or didn't get enough tissue. It is usually done in the hospital or surgical center and may require general anesthesia.
  • Hysteroscopy: This is a procedure that may be done in your doctor’s office and allows him or her to take a biopsy of the endometrial tissue and look inside the uterus. A thin telescope-like tool and other small tools are put through the cervix and into the uterus. Growths are removed so they can be checked for cancer cells.

Additional Tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scans of areas of the abdomen.
  • Ultrasound to look at other organs inside the body
  • Special Exams of the bladder, colon, and rectum if cancer may have spread to these areas.

Several types of treatment can be used for uterine cancer. Which may work best for you? It depends on a number of factors. These include the type, size, location, and stage of your cancer. Other important factors include your age and overall health, how well the rest of your liver is working and what side effects you find acceptable. Your doctor can answer any questions or concerns you have.

  • Surgery: The most common treatment for women with uterine cancer. Your doctor will likely take out your uterus and will usually take out the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes. How much is removed depends on the size of the tumor, what the cancer cells look like and how the cancer has spread.
  • Radiation: For this treatment, X-rays are used to kill cancer cells. Radiation is often used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind.
  • Hormone Therapy: Uses medicines to keep the cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. The medicines are given by mouth or by injection to control the cancer cells that are both inside and outside the uterus. Hormone therapy may be used to be sure that cancer cells don't spread. It may also help to ease symptoms when cancer is advanced.
  • Chemotherapy: The use of anticancer medicine to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used to be sure all the cancer cells have been killed. Or when cancer is advanced, chemotherapy can help ease symptoms. The medicine may be given by mouth or by injection. Either way, the medicine travels throughout the body in the bloodstream.

At INTEGRIS, we offer a wide variety of support programs and services along with the Troy and Dollie Smith Wellness Center to help patients with breast cancer and their loved ones manage the physical and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Support services for uterine cancer include:

  • Mind, body therapies including acupuncture, massage, and yoga
  • Research and clinical trials
  • Nutrition consultations
  • Pastoral care, spiritual support and relaxation techniques
  • Resource Room
  • Clinical social work services
  • Counseling
  • Patient navigation and survivor care planning
  • Multi-disciplinary clinic coordination
  • Cancer screenings
  • Patient and family support groups

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