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Gynecologic oncologists (surgeons) work in close collaboration with radiation oncologists and medical oncologists to treat women with cancers of their reproductive system: vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries.
Vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of cancer of the endometrium (the body, or corpus, of the uterus). Pap tests, the screening test for cervical cancer, identify some endometrial cancers, but often at an advanced stage. A biopsy within the uterus is necessary for diagnosis. The patient’s prognosis depends on how deeply the cancer invades into the uterus, whether it invades into nearby tissues and if it has spread into lymph nodes. These factors define the stage (I-IV). Abnormal appearance under the microscope and other pathological features also affect prognosis.
Treating Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer treatment begins with surgical treatment and the staging information it gathers. For early cancers without high-risk surgical findings, total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the uterus, tubes and ovaries) cures most cancers. However, for many Stage I and most Stage II cancers, adjuvant radiation therapy is necessary, using inserted radioactive material (brachytherapy) or external beam radiation therapy. Cancers that have broken through the wall of the uterus require additional drug or radiation therapy. Some patients can be treated with hormonal drugs.
The two graphs below show overall survival for all patients under age 80 with early-stage (Stage I and Stage II) endometrial cancer, who were treated with surgery, with or without radiation therapy (2005-2011).
The two graphs below show overall survival for all patients under age 80 with early-stage (Stage I and Stage II) UPSC (uterine papillary serous carcinoma) cancer, who were treated with surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy (2005-2011).
Endometrial cancer clinical trials, or research studies, are necessary to determine whether new treatments developed in the laboratory are beneficial to people with endometrial cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and analyzes data from successful clinical trials to determine whether an experimental treatment should be approved to treat a specific disease or disorder, such as endometrial cancer.
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