Treatment for uterine cancer is based on the type of uterine cancer you have and its stage, your overall health and treatment preferences. This may involve surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapies.
Surgery is usually the primary form of treatment, where the uterus, fallopian tubes and sometimes the ovaries are removed (hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy). In most cases, no other treatment is needed following surgery. Your specialist will advise you on the follow-up required.
- Surgery – involves removing the uterus and cervix (total hysterectomy), alongside the fallopian tubes and sometimes the ovaries (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy). Sometimes a few identified lymph nodes are removed (sentinel node biopsy), or pelvic node dissection is done. In some cases, nodal sampling is performed
- Radiation therapy – uses high-energy particles to target and destroy cancer cells through external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and in some cases brachytherapy. Radiation therapy is primarily used following surgery to treat uterine cancer. If you have a tumour that is difficult to remove, your radiation oncologist may deliver radiation therapy before surgery to reduce the size of the tumour. Radiation therapy may be the primary treatment option for women who are unable to undergo surgery, alongside other treatments such as chemotherapy
- Chemotherapy – involves the use of anti-cancer drugs which are taken orally (by mouth) or injected into the body. Chemotherapy is commonly used for high grade uterine cancers that grow and spread quickly, when uterine cancer has returned, and when surgery isn’t a treatment option for cancers that have spread beyond the uterus
- Hormone therapy – uses hormones or drugs to deprive uterine cancer cells of the hormone oestrogen which feeds them, thus slowing the growth of cancer cells in the uterus. Hormone therapy may be used to treat advanced uterine cancer or if the cancer has returned, especially for low grade uterine cancers, or as an alternative to surgery in women with early stage, low grade uterine cancer. Hormone therapy is available in tablet form or through a hormone-releasing intrauterine device. The type of hormone therapy you receive will depend on you and your cancer
- Targeted therapies – focuses specifically on treating the uterine cancer through targeting cancer cells, and not healthy cells. Targeted therapies may be used for advanced uterine cancers, those that are high-risk or cancers that have returned after treatment
- Immunotherapy – uses your immune system to slow the growth of cancer cells and destroy existing cancer cells. You may receive immunotherapy if your uterine cancer is advanced or has returned