Endometrial cancer found in its early stages can often be cured with surgery and close
follow-up. Treatment choices depend on where the cancer is and how much it has
Types of treatment
After testing shows that you have
endometrial cancer, your doctor may
recommend surgery to remove the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. All tissues removed in surgery are examined to find out the
stage and grade of the cancer.
Lymph nodes near the uterus may be examined to find out if cancer has spread
outside of the uterus.
You may get more than one type of treatment for
endometrial cancer. This depends on the size of the cancer and how the cancer cells look under the microscope. Treatments include:
Additional information about endometrial cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/endometrial/Patient.
Studies called clinical trials can be an option for women who don't want or aren't cured by
standard treatments. Talk with your doctor
to see if clinical trials are available and to find out if you are a good
Endometrial cancer may come back (recur), so regular followup after your initial treatment is very important. Your doctor will set up a regular schedule of checkups that will happen less often as time goes on.
Most of the time when endometrial cancer comes back after treatment, a woman will have symptoms. These include:5
- Bleeding from the vagina, bladder, or rectum.
- Decreased appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Pain in your belly, hip, or back.
- Shortness of breath.
- Swelling in your belly or legs.
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away and don't wait for your next scheduled appointment.
Sexual problems and body changes
Your feelings about your body and your sexuality may
change after treatment for cancer. It may help to talk openly with your partner about your
doctor may be able to refer you to groups that can offer support and
Having cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or a hysterectomy may affect your ability to have or enjoy sex. If you do have sexual problems, talk with your doctor about treatment, information, or a group for support.
have not yet reached
menopause, your menstrual period will end immediately
after most treatments for endometrial cancer. If your uterus and ovaries have
been removed or have had radiation therapy, your body will have a decrease in
estrogen. This may cause:
- Menopausal symptoms, such as
hot flashes, changes in mood, vaginal dryness, and atrophy (shrinking) of pelvic tissues. Talk with your doctor about how to manage your
symptoms if they bother you. To learn more, see the topic
Menopause and Perimenopause.
- An increased risk of heart disease and changes in your bones, such as osteoporosis.
Cancer treatment has two main goals: curing cancer and
making your quality of life as good as possible. Palliative care can improve your quality of life by helping you to manage your symptoms. It can also help you with other concerns that you may have when you are living with a serious illness.
For some people who have
advanced-stage cancer, a time comes when treatment to cure cancer no longer
seems like a good choice. This can be because the side effects, time, and costs
of treatment are greater than the promise of cure or relief.
But this isn't the
end of treatment.
It can be hard to decide when to stop treatment aimed
at prolonging your life and shift the focus to end-of-life care. You and your doctor can decide when you may be ready for hospice care.