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Terk Oncology Icon UTERINE CANCER

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Uterine Cancer

Uterine carcinoma is a fairly common malignancy seen in post-menopausal women. It is often curative with surgery; many patients are diagnosed early and have excellent outcomes.

Hysterectomy is the treatment of choice for uterine cancer. Radiation therapy to the pelvis and/or vagina may be offered after a hysterectomy has been performed if poor prognostic factors are present in the hysterectomy specimen (i.e. deep invasion, high grade tumor, cervical involvement.

Terk Oncology uses Elekta Infinity with Agility™, a form of IMRT, to treat pelvic lymph nodes. VMAT is a major advance in radiation therapy. VMAT delivers highly precise treatment much faster then standard IMRT. Treatments that once took 15-30 minutes can be accomplished in 2 minutes. This treatment allows for less scatter dose to normal tissues.

Transvaginal brachytherapy may be offered after surgery or after external beam therapy, depending on the pathology of the cancer. In this procedure, a thin, hollow tube is placed in the vagina and radiation sources are placed through the tube for a short period of time.

Uterine Cancer

The uterus is located in a woman’s pelvis between the bladder and the rectum. It is hollow and pear shaped and it is where a baby is carried when a woman is pregnant. The uterus is divided into three main parts. The top of the uterus is referred to as the fundus. The fallopian tubes extend from the fundus to the ovaries. The middle of the uterus is called the corpus and the lower part of the uterus is called the cervix.

Uterine cancer frequently starts in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It can be referred to as uterine cancer, cancer of the uterus or endometrial cancer. The other two types of cancer that affect the uterus are uterine sarcoma and cervical cancer.

Uterine sarcoma is quite rare. It occurs when the cancer cells start in the muscle cells of the uterus. Cervical cancer occurs when the cancer cells develop in the cervix. It can be caused by a virus. The treatment of cervical cancer is not described in this article.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for uterine cancer are:

  • Age (over 50)
  • Endometrial hyperplasia
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Race (white women have the highest risk)
  • Having colorectal cancer
  • Taking tamoxifen (drug used to prevent breast cancer)

Symptoms

The most common symptom for uterine cancer is post-menopausal bleeding. Other symptoms can include discomfort in the pelvic region, painful intercourse, and experiencing pain when urinating. It is important to note that these are fairly common symptoms for many different and less serious illnesses than uterine cancer.

Diagnosis

A biopsy of the uterine surface is necessary to diagnose endometrial carcinoma.

Staging

The extent of local disease determines the stage of uterine cancer. The testing for distant disease includes CT of the abdomen and pelvis.

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