What is Uterine Cancer Treatment?
BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 6 years of experience
What is Uterine Cancer?
Uterine or endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the uterus. The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped pelvic organ where the fetus develops. Uterine cancer begins in the cells that form the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium). Endometrial cancer is sometimes called uterine cancer. Other types of cancer can form in the uterus, including uterine sarcoma, but they are less common than endometrial cancer.
Endometrial or uterine cancer is often diagnosed at an early stage because it causes abnormal vaginal bleeding. If endometrial cancer is detected early, then surgical removal of the uterus can cure this cancer. If the uterine cancer is left untreated, it has the chance of spreading to the bladder, rectum, vagina and ovaries, etc.
Let us give you detailed information about Endometrial Cancer or Uterine Cancer through this article-
- What are the types of Uterine Cancer?
- What are the stages of Uterine Cancer?
- What are the causes of Uterine Cancer?
- What are the symptoms of Uterine Cancer?
- How is Uterine Cancer diagnosed?
- What are the treatments for Uterine Cancer?
- What are steps of care after Uterine Cancer Treatment?
- What are the complications of Uterine Cancer Treatment?
- What is the cost of Uterine Cancer Treatment in India?
What are the types of Uterine Cancer?
There are mainly two types of uterine cancer-
- Uterine Sarcoma – Uterine sarcoma begins in the muscle layer (myometrium) or the supporting connective tissue of the uterus. These include uterine leiomyosarcoma and endometrial stromal sarcoma.
- Endometrial Carcinomas – It is cancer occurring in the inner lining of the uterus. Most uterine cancers are of this type. Endometrial carcinoma is divided into different types by looking at the cells under the microscope.
What are the stages of Uterine Cancer?
To detect the stage of uterine cancer, the doctor performs some blood tests.
- Stage 1 – Cancer occurs only in the uterus.
- Stage 2 – Cancer that has spread to the cervix.
- Stage 3 – Cancer that has spread to the pelvic lymph nodes, vagina, and ovaries.
- Stage 4 – Cancer that has spread outside the pelvic area like bladder and other parts of the body. ( Know more about- What is Ovarian Cyst Removal Surgery? Purpose, Tests, Procedure, Cost )
What are the causes of Uterine Cancer?
The following are the risk factors associated with Uterine Cancer, that can cause Uterine cancer in females-
- Altered sex hormone levels- In most cases, the exact cause of endometrial cancer is unknown. However, experts believe that changes in estrogen and progesterone levels in the body often play a role. When the level of these sex hormones fluctuates, it affects your endometrium. When the balance shifts toward increased levels of estrogen, it causes the endometrial cells to divide and multiply rapidly.
- Genetic mutations- If some genetic changes occur in the endometrial cells, they become cancerous. Those cancer cells grow rapidly and proliferate to form a tumor.
- Women on drugs to prevent or treat breast cancer have a high risk of uterine cancer
- Women on hormonal replacement therapy have higher risk ( Know more about- What is Hormonal Imbalance in Females? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment )
- Women above the age of 40 years
- Post- menopausal women
- In females who got first period early
- Females who got menopause very late
- High fat diet like red meat diet, increases the risk of uterine cancer
- Diabetic females
- Females with high blood pressure
- Females with no history of pregnancy or have few kids
- Infertile females
- History of irregular periods
- Endometrial hyperplasia ( abnormal endometrial cells )
- Family history or uterine, colon, breast cancer ( Know more about- What is Breast Cancer? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention )
Scientists are still studying the changes that cause normal endometrial cells to become cancerous cells.
What are the symptoms of Uterine Cancer?
In most cases the symptoms appear at an early stage of uterine cancer. In rare cases, the symptoms appear when it has spread to other organs.
- The most common symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Irregular periods ( Know more about- Causes of Irregular Periods )
- Heaviness during menstrual period
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting in between menstrual cycles
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause is another possible symptom of endometrial cancer. 15 percent of such cases lead to uterine cancer.
- Water or blood discharge from the vagina, foul smelling or brown colored discharge.
- Difficulty or pain in urination
- Enlarged uterus that is detected during physical examination/pelvic check up.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Generalised weakness
- Pain in the back and legs ( when cancer has spread nearby )
- Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis ( Know more about- Home remedies for Pelvic Pain )
- Pain during sex
If you experience any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, contact your doctor. These symptoms are not necessarily indicative of a serious condition, but it is important to have them examined.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding is often associated with menopause or other non-cancerous conditions. But in some cases, it is a sign of endometrial cancer or other types of gynecological cancer. Your doctor can help you identify the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment if necessary.
How is Uterine Cancer diagnosed?
- If the above symptoms are present, the doctor first asks for a detailed medical and family history, history of any past cancer treatments and other history of the presenting illness or symptoms.
- Following the above, some basic blood tests ( CBC, Hemoglobin tests, etc ) are done
- Urine tests
- Pelvic examination ( to detect the size, position and shape of the uterus and abnormality)
- Pap smears
- Transvaginal ultrasound (this test gives the picture called as sonohystogram, of inner organs like uterus, to check if the uterine lining is too thick ,etc )
- Uterine biopsy ( tissue sample is taken from the uterus and checked for abnormal cancer cells in the laboratory )
- Once the biopsy confirms the presence of cancer, imaging tests ( CT scan, MRI scan, etc) are done
- CA-125 assay- This is a blood test done to detect the presence of a marker called CA-125 in the blood, seen in both ovarian and uterine cancer.
What are the treatments for Uterine Cancer?
There are several treatment options available for uterine cancer. Your doctor’s recommended treatment plan depends on the subtype and stage of cancer, as well as your overall health and personal preferences.
There are potential benefits and risks associated with each treatment option. Your doctor can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of each approach.
The following are the treatment methods for ovarian cancer-
- Surgery– Endometrial cancer is often treated with a type of surgery known as hysterectomy. During hysterectomy, the surgeon removes the uterus. They can also remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes, in a procedure known as bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO). Hysterectomy and BSO are usually performed during the same operation. The surgeon will also remove nearby lymph nodes to find out if the cancer has spread. This is known as lymph node dissection or lymphadenectomy. If the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, the surgeon may recommend additional surgery.
- Radiation treatment – Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. There are two main types of radiation therapy for the treatment of uterine cancer.
- External beam radiation therapy: An external machine focuses radiation beams from outside your body to the uterus.
- Internal radiation therapy: Radioactive material is placed inside the body, vagina, or uterus. It is also known as brachytherapy.
Your doctor may recommend one or both types of radiation therapy after surgery. This can help kill cancer cells that may remain after surgery. In rare cases, they may recommend radiation therapy before surgery. This can help make the tumor easier to shrink. If you cannot have surgery due to your other medical conditions or overall health, then your doctor may recommend radiation therapy as the main treatment.
- Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Some types of chemotherapy treatment involve one drug, while others involve a combination of drugs. Depending on the type of chemotherapy you receive, medications may be in tablet form or given via an intravenous (IV) line. Your doctor may recommend chemotherapy for uterine cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. They may recommend this treatment approach for endometrial cancers that have returned after previous treatment.
- Hormone therapy– Hormone therapy involves the use of hormones or hormone-blocking drugs to change the body’s hormone levels. This may help slow the growth of endometrial cancer cells. Your doctor may recommend hormone therapy for stage III or stage IV endometrial cancer. They can also be recommended for endometrial cancers that have returned after treatment. Hormone therapy is often combined with chemotherapy.
What are steps of care after Uterine Cancer Treatment?
The followup care involves the following steps-
- The healthcare team will look for any side effects, health of the patient and any signs of recurrence after the initial treatment.
- Regular physical examinations are done
- Pelvic examinations
- Follow up blood tests
- Imaging tests like Xrays are done
- Doctor will check for any signs of cancer recurrence
- The immediate and late side effects are to be told to the doctor in the follow up appointments, which are then managed with tests, medicines, therapies, etc.
What are the complications of Uterine Cancer Treatment?
- Urination problems like painful urination or blood in urine. ( Know more about- What is Blood in Urine? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments)
- Bladder problems or unable to hold urine
- Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep
- Skin and nail related problems
- Sexual health gets affected and decrease in sexual desires
- Abdominal and pelvic pain ( mainly after surgery, which can be managed by painkillers )
- Multiple organ swellings, leg swellings
- Tingling in the legs and hands
- Other nerve related problems
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Mouth sores or ulcers
- Lymphedema ( lymph fluid gets filled leading to swellings in different body parts )
- Decreased memory power
- Increased infections in parts of body
- Cold and flu like symptoms
- Hair Loss
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Bleeding in different body parts and easy bruising
- Loss of appetite
What is the cost of Uterine Cancer Treatment in India?
The total cost of uterine cancer treatment in India can range from around INR 5,00,000 to INR 7,00,000. However, many prominent hospital doctors in India specialize in uterine cancer treatment. But the cost varies across different hospitals.
If you are coming from abroad, apart from the cost of uterine cancer treatment, there will be an additional cost of living in a hotel and the cost of local travel. After surgery, the patient is kept for 7 days in the hospital and 7 days in the hotel for recovery. So, the total cost of uterine cancer treatment in India comes to be around INR 6,00,000 to INR 8,00,000.
We hope we were able to answer your queries about uterine cancer treatment through this article.
If you want more information and treatment of uterine cancer, contact a Surgical Oncologist.
We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend treatment or medication in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan.