Treatment for uterine cancer is either local or systemic. Local treatments remove, destroy, or control cancer cells in one area. Surgery and radiation are local treatments.
Systemic treatments destroy or control cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments. You may have just one treatment. Or you may have a combination of treatments. The general types of treatment for endometrial cancer and uterine cancer are the same. Their goals, order, and intensity may change based on the specific type and stage of cancer you have.
Surgery and radiation therapy are two local treatments for uterine cancer. They both work to remove the tumor from the uterus.
Surgery. The goal of surgery is to completely remove the tumor from your body. With uterine cancer, this generally means that your entire uterus must be removed. Usually, the fallopian tubes and ovaries are also removed. Some of the lymph nodes surrounding your uterus may be removed to check for cancer cells.
Radiation therapy. Radiation is also called radiotherapy. The goal is to kill cancer cells using radiation such as that found in X-rays. Radiation therapy may be used by itself to kill all the cells of a tumor. It may also be used before surgery to shrink a tumor or after surgery to get rid of any remaining cancer cells. You may get radiation to your pelvic area or only to your vagina.
Hormone therapy and chemotherapy are systemic treatments for uterine cancer. They both work to kill cancer cells or prevent new ones from growing anywhere in your body.
Hormone therapy. The goal of hormone therapy is to stop cancer cells from growing. Cancer cells need certain hormones to grow. Drugs can reduce the production of these hormones. Drugs can also block these hormones from working in cancer cells.
Chemotherapy. The goal of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells throughout your body. This can reduce the chance that the cancer will spread to other parts of your body. Or it can kill cells that have been found outside your uterus.
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