Treatment for Endometrial Cancer: Surgery, Radiation & Hormone Therapy

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Treating Endometrial Cancer

Treatment for endometrial cancer includes different approaches, depending on the stage of cancer and specific condition of the patient. Most of the current treatments for endometrial or uterine cancer are standard, which have been established as effective treatment approaches for cancer. There are also several new treatments that are still at the clinical trial or research stage. Some patients, particularly those in advanced stages of the disease, may consider undergoing a clinical trial treatment which will include the latest treatment procedures and medication. There are also some clinical trials that are available only for patients who have not undergone any treatment for uterine cancer till now.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is one of the effective options to treat endometrial cancer. There are different types of surgeries that may be used, depending on the patient’s condition. One of the common surgical procedures is total hysterectomy. This involves complete uterus removal, including the cervix. The procedure may also be termed vaginal hysterectomy if the removal is done through the vagina. Alternatively, the cervix and the uterus may be removed through an abdominal incision, which is known as laparoscopic hysterectomy.

Radiation Treatment

Radiation therapy may be used in isolation or in combination with surgery to treat uterine cancer. In some cases the operating surgeon may decide to use radiation therapy even after the uterus and cervix have been surgically removed. This is done to ensure there are no traces of malignancy left behind. Radiation therapy in case of endometrial cancer can be both external beam radiation and brachytherapy, which is high intensity internal radiation therapy. The choice of the method of delivery of radiation depends on the stage of the cancer.

Hormone Therapy

In some situations, it may be necessary to use hormone therapy to control the cancer of the uterus. If the tests reveal the possibility of hormones getting attached with the cancerous cells, the safest option available is to inhibit the growth of hormones or block their action in order to prevent the cancer cells from growing. Inhibition of hormones may be achieved through standard procedures such as surgery, radiotherapy or drugs. Blockage of hormones may result in mild side effects for the patient, but it is critical to ensure that the cancer does not grow due to hormonal action.

Treatment for Different Stages of Endometrial Cancer

Stage I endometrial cancer may involve total hysterectomy, or may even include removal of lymph nodes in the abdomen and pelvis region. The procedure may be followed by radiotherapy to eliminate any remaining malignancy. For patients who are not in a condition to undergo surgery, only radiotherapy or even chemotherapy may be used for Stage I endometrial carcinoma. At Stage II, a combination of radiation and surgery may become more important. Radiation may be internal or external, depending on the patient’s condition.

At Stage III, hormone therapy may be used if the patient is not in a condition to undergo both surgery and radiation. It may be recommended for Stage III and Stage IV patients of endometrial carcinoma to undergo clinical trials in order to get access to the latest treatment options. Chemotherapy clinical trials with various new drugs are in progress in the United States for the advanced stages of this cancer.