Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Uterine Cancer Treatment?
The specialized and well trained gynecological surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital evaluate patients with uterine cancer and provide the best treatment advice for each patient. Gynecological experts may choose from the various non-surgical and surgical treatment options available, and the treatment that works best for your symptoms and severity of uterine cancer will be considered.
The uterus is a hollow, muscular organ in the pelvis of women, which is commonly known as the womb. The shape of the uterus is like a pear turned upside down. The top part of the uterus is called the fundus, the middle part is corpus, and the bottom part is the cervix. From the top portion of the uterus (fundus) the fallopian tubes extend to the ovaries. In the middle part of the uterus (corpus), the fetus grows. The lower part of the uterus is called cervix which is the passageway to the vagina through which the baby emerges. Any abnormal growth of cells in any of these three parts of the uterine lining (endometrium) or the tissue of the muscle (myometrium) is called uterine cancer. Most uterine cancers develop in the endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus. The cells of the endometrium produce mucus and other fluids. The abnormal growth that begins in these cells is called endometrial cancer. The growth that occurs in the muscles and supporting tissues of the uterus is called uterine sarcoma.
Treatment for uterine cancer depends on the stage of cancer. Stage IV has the most aggressive cancer cells. One or more of the following treatments are given. Detecting cancer at the early stage gives more opportunity to cure it successfully. At times, some uterine cancers may reach advanced stages before showing any signs or symptoms.
Surgical Procedures for Uterine Cancer Performed at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital
Depending on the stage of cancer advancement and your preferences, one of the following surgical procedures may be considered.
- Hysterectomy: In this procedure, the entire uterus and cervix are removed.
- Radical hysterectomy: In this surgical procedure, the uterus, cervix, ovaries, the surrounding tissue called parametria, and the upper part of the vagina are removed.
- Lymphadenectomy: Along with hysterectomy the doctor will remove lymph nodes present in the pelvis.
- Pelvic Exenteration: In conditions where cancer has reached the advanced stages or when there is a recurrence of cancer, the uterus, cervix, vagina, ovaries, urinary bladder, rectum and adjacent lymph nodes will be removed. Tissues from another part of the body will be taken to reconstruct the vagina. External pouches will be attached to pass urine and stools.
Drugs and Other Treatment Needed for Uterine Cancer
Radiation therapy »
Hormone therapy »
Megestrol acetate »
There are mainly two types of uterine cancer, which may develop in any part of the uterus. They are:
Uterine sarcoma »
Endometrial cancer »
Stages of Uterine Cancer
Stages of cancer are classified based on the following three factors:
- The extent the tumor has spread
- If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes
- The spread of cancer to distant locations
Stage 0: Cancer is found only on the surface of the uterus.
Stage I: Cancer grows into the muscles of the uterus and may spread to the glands of the cervix.
Stage II: In this stage, cancer grows deep through the muscles and can reach the supporting tissues of the cervix.
Stage III: Cancer spreads outside the uterus and affects the tissues of the pelvic area.
Stage IV: In this stage, cancer from the uterus spreads to the urinary bladder, large intestine, rectum, lymph nodes of the groin, and distant parts such as bones and lungs.
Symptoms of Uterine Cancer
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding: The bleeding may be watery initially with less amount of blood and gradually the flow may contain more blood. After menopause, any vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal and a symptom of uterine cancer. The discharge may be either at the unexpected time during the month or in inappropriate amounts and for a longer period.
- Feeling pain or difficulty while passing urine.
- Experiencing pain during sexual intercourse.
- Feeling pain in the area of the pelvis.
- Bleeding may occur while on hormone therapy after menopause. However, if the bleeding is irregular it might be a symptom of uterine cancer.
Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer
Physical Examination: Generally, detection of uterine cancer at the early stage is difficult but very much essential. Initially, your doctor will perform a careful physical examination of your body including the pelvis. The doctor will also ask about your medical history.
Endometrial biopsy: Endometrial biopsy is done to find endometrial cancer. A biopsy involves the removal of a small piece of the endometrium lining of the uterus and examining it under a microscope.
Transvaginal pelvic ultrasound: This procedure involves the use of sound waves to create images of the uterus. From the images, the thickness of the endometrium is ascertained. If the thickness of the endometrium is found to be abnormal, it can be a sign of uterine cancer. Ultrasound also helps to find out whether cancer has spread into the uterine muscles as well.
Hysteroscopy: With this technique, your doctor can view the inside of the uterus and take out an endometrial tissue sample to be examined under a microscope.
Tests to Check whether Cancer Has Spread
Either CT or MRI scan is done to find out whether cancer has spread to the abdomen and pelvic areas. This helps to plan for the treatment. The following tests may be done prior to the surgery:
- A complete blood count (CBC) is done to find abnormal blood values and anemia.
- A cancer antigen (CA) 125 test is done to find out whether cancer has spread from the uterus.
- A chest X-ray to find out if any cancer cells have spread to the chest (metastasized) from the uterus.
Risk Factors for Uterine Cancer
Hormonal imbalance: The ovaries produce two major female hormones called estrogen and progesterone. The levels of these hormones should be well balanced. Any fluctuations in the balance of these hormones can cause changes in the endometrium raising risk for uterine cancer.
Abnormal or prolonged period of menstruation: Beginning of menstruation at an early age or later than the age at which menstruation should normally start. Irregular menstruation and menstruating for a prolonged period increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
Women who have never conceived: Women who have never been pregnant are at a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer compared to women who have had at least one childbirth.
Age: Older women who have attained menopause are at a higher risk of endometrial cancer.
Obesity: Excess body fat results in a hormonal imbalance in the body, which increases the risk of uterine cancer.
Diabetes: Type 2 diabetic women are at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
Hormone therapy for breast cancer: Women taking tamoxifen drug for breast cancer will have an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer after menopause.
Causes of Uterine Cancer
It has been found that the cancer cells on the endometrial surfaces contain more estrogen and progesterone hormones. These receptors interact with an excess of estrogen and progesterone hormones resulting in the initiation of the development of cancerous cells. The lining of the uterus starts growing thick. Cancerous cells divide uncontrollably and spread to the nearby tissues.
Camellia Sinensis: Green tea prepared from a plant called Camellia sinensis can be used in the treatment of uterine cancer and various other ailments.
Garlic: Garlic contains allicin and other phytochemicals. These ingredients possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the inflammation. The ingredients help in detoxification and elimination of harmful chemicals from the body. In addition, it strengthens your immune system enabling your body to fight against the cancer cells.
Nettle: Nettle is an effective herb, which helps boost your immune system. The herb contains minerals and vitamins, which can prevent the uterine cancer cells from growing.
Turmeric: Curcumin, the ingredient present in turmeric has a huge potential in boosting immunity in the body, and is very effective in treating uterine cancer. The powder can be mixed in a glass of milk and consumed.
Red Clover: This contains an ingredient called genistein, which purifies the blood and eliminates the cancerous cells from the body.
Note: Though these herbal remedies are thought to be effective in treating uterine cancer, there is no established evidence to authenticate the same. Hence, consultation with a doctor is very much necessary if you want to take up herbal treatment to manage uterine cancer.
It has been found that it is not possible to prevent uterine cancer. But, we can reduce the risk of developing uterine cancer by taking adequate precautionary measures.
Some preventive measures are as follows:
- Avoid obesity
- Regularly monitor your blood glucose level, particularly in the case of diabetic patients.
- Avoid meat or other foods rich in fat.
- Avoid taking anything, which is known to be causing cancer.
- Avoid smoking.
- Perform regular exercises.