Treatment Options for Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer is a disease of the uterus that typically affects women between the ages of 50-70. Symptoms of this type of cancer include non-menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and unusual vaginal discharge. Since most cases of this cancer develop in the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, this condition is also called endometrial cancer.

Uterine cancer is diagnosed through a number of methods, including pelvic exams, ultrasounds and biopsies of endometrial tissue. Once a diagnosis has been made, there are a number of treatment options for women with this condition, including medications and surgeries to remove cancerous cells.

The most common types of surgeries associated with uterine cancer are partial and full hysterectomies. A partial hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus only, while a full hysterectomy includes the surgical removal of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes located near the groin, surgery may be performed to remove these as well.

Radiation therapy is another treatment option for women with uterine or endometrial cancer. This technology is typically used after surgery to ensure the destruction of any remaining cancer cells. Radiation can also be used to shrink tumors and relieve pain, and is most often administered in rounds to ensure effective eradication of cancerous cells. Side effects of radiation include severe burns at the site of treatment, as well as aches, pains, nausea, and vomiting.

Chemotherapy drugs are also common in the treatment of uterine and endometrial cancers. These medications are administered either orally or intravenously, and are extremely aggressive and effective forms of cancer treatment. Unfortunately, side effects of chemotherapy are often unfavorable. These drugs lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, aches and pains, loss of appetite and other flu-like symptoms, and can also cause full body hair loss.

Cancer of the uterus can often require the use of pain management drugs in order to ease the discomfort of cancer and other treatment methods. Depending on the severity of an individual's pain, these drugs can range from over-the-counter analgesics to powerful prescription narcotics. With the latter, precaution must be taken when it comes to dosage and strength, as these drugs can often lead to increased tolerance and addiction. These drugs can also cause side effects such as liver and kidney damage, constipation, drowsiness, and dizziness.

Although a cancer diagnosis can be frightening, there are many different treatment options available. The most important thing regarding treatment is that it is sought as quickly as possible following a cancer diagnosis. This can greatly improve the odds of survival, and can also lessen the uncomfortable side effects of treatment.