Stage III

Choosing Your Personal Journey Through Stage III Uterine Cancer

Stage III uterine cancer has advanced past the uterus, but remains contained within the pelvic area. The lymph nodes may be involved in this area, along with spreading to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or the vagina. The survival rate for this cancer is 47-58 percent after five years.

Having a doctor tell you that you have stage III uterine cancer can be quite daunting at first. So many things you thought you had time to do in your life now seem out of reach. Most likely you will be in a state of shock and denial at first. Then, as things start to sink in, you even become angry and ask, Why me? You may even try to bargain with a higher power. Slowly, a period comes when you start to accept your diagnosis and choose to put all your energy in either overcoming the cancer or engaging in treatments that can buy you more time.

Treatment options, while this will be a very personal decision based on your doctor's recommendation and the quality of life you desire, it will determine the type of treatment or lack thereof, which you will receive or reject.

The normal course of treatment involves having a complete or partial hysterectomy, based on the spread of cancer to the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Your doctor may also determine that radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy may be needed to destroy any other cancer cells left behind.

Other times, radiation and chemotherapy is administered to shrink the tumor to a size that is considered operable. If the cancer is inoperable, radiation alone is often used to help prolong life.

Doctors do not look so much at curing cancer as they look at prolonging life for their patients who are considered terminal. By switching chemotherapy treatments every few months, it prolongs life for a few more months. Doctors also enroll their patients in clinical trials to help buy a few more months for their patients.

For the majority of patients, these types of treatments are well received. Most people do not understand that when they are faced with their own mortality, they will do almost anything to live.

When the uterine cancer spreads to other areas outside the pelvic region and the patient becomes terminal, there are tremendous hospice programs available that help the patient spend their final days surrounded with loved ones in their own home.