Cancer of the uterus (uterine or endometrial cancer) is a growth of abnormal cells that form tumors in the lining of the uterus. It is the most common type of cancer in the uterus. The uterus is the muscular organ at the top of the vagina. Babies grow in the uterus, and menstrual blood comes from the uterus. If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is still uterine cancer, and is called metastatic uterine cancer.
There are different types and stages of uterine cancer based on what kind of cancer cells are found, where the tumor started, and where it has spread. Knowing the type and stage of uterine cancer you have helps your healthcare provider decide on the best treatment plan for you. It is important to diagnose and treat uterine cancer as soon as possible. The main goals of treatment are to kill the tumor cells, prevent a localized cancer from spreading, and prevent metastatic cancer from spreading more than it already has.
The cause of uterine cancer is not known. It is one of the most common cancers among women. Most often, it occurs in women between the ages of 50 and 70. You are at greatest risk if your body produces a lot of the hormone estrogen without enough of the hormone progesterone and you have gone through menopause.
How can I take care of myself when I go home?
Your chance of cure depends on how far the cancer has spread. How long it takes to get better depends on your treatment, how well you recover, your overall health, and any complications you may have. You may need to make lifestyle changes to stay as healthy as possible.
Your provider will give you a list of your medicines when you leave the hospital.
Know your medicines. Know what they look like, how much you should take each time, how often you are to take them, and why you take each one.
Take your medicines exactly as your provider tells you to.
Carry a list of your medicines in your wallet or purse. Include any nonprescription medicines and supplements on the list.
Talk to your provider before you use any other medicines, including nonprescription medicines
Your provider may prescribe medicine or other therapy to:
Treat or prevent an infection
Treat or prevent side effects, such as nausea or constipation, from other treatments
Treat or prevent low blood counts caused by the cancer or its treatment.
Block the hormones that allow uterine cancer to grow
Help relieve symptoms of menopause if your ovaries were removed
Follow activity restrictions, such as not driving or operating machinery, as recommended by your healthcare provider or pharmacist, especially if you are taking pain medicines.
If you have had abdominal surgery, to care for your surgical wound:
Keep your surgical wound clean.
If you are told to change the dressing on your surgical wound, wash your hands before changing the dressing and after disposing of the dressing.
Do not put anything into your vagina, including tampons, or have sex until your provider says it is OK.
If you have had a hysterectomy:
Do not do any heavy lifting or otherwise strain the belly muscles for 4 to 6 weeks.
If you were having menstrual periods before the surgery, you will no longer have them after the operation.
You cannot become pregnant.
If your ovaries were removed, menopause starts right away.
Take care of your health. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Eat a healthy diet and try to keep a healthy weight. If you smoke, try to quit. If you want to drink alcohol, ask your healthcare provider how much is safe for you to drink. Learn ways to manage stress. Exercise according to your healthcare provider’s instructions.
You may need other treatments for your cancer after you leave the hospital. Treatments may include:
Chemotherapy (anticancer drugs), which uses medicine to kill cancer cells. Different types of chemotherapy may be given in the hospital, outpatient clinic, or at home.
Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation treatment may be done in the hospital or an outpatient clinic.
Follow your provider’s instructions for follow-up appointments.
Keep appointments for any routine testing you may need. Testing may include:
Blood tests to check for certain hormones, proteins, or chemicals that may be high if you have cancer
X-rays: Pictures of the inside of the chest and bones to check for cancer
Computed tomography (CT) scan: A series of X-rays taken from different angles and arranged by a computer to show thin sections of the pelvis and other areas where the cancer may have spread
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A powerful magnetic field and radio waves are used to take pictures from different angles to show thin sections of the pelvis (the area below the belly and between the hips) and other areas where the cancer may have spread
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: A series of detailed pictures that are taken after your healthcare provider injects a small amount of radioactive material into your blood. The scan shows areas where the radioactive material is being absorbed.
Talk with your provider about any questions or concerns you have.
Call your healthcare provider if you have new or worsening:
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Shortness of breath
Diarrhea, constipation, or other intestinal problems
Heavy vaginal bleeding, soaking a pad more than every hour
Trouble emptying your bladder
Vaginal discharge with a bad odor or itching
Signs of infection around your surgical wound. These include:
The area around the wound is more red or painful
The wound area is very warm to touch
You have blood, pus, or other fluid coming from the wound area
National Cancer Instituteâ€™s Cancer Information Service Phone: 1-800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237) Web site: http://www.cancer.gov
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Acute Care Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-12-22 Last reviewed: 2014-12-22
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Cancer of the Uterus Discharge Information: References
Armitage, J. O., Doroshow, J. H., Kastan, M. B., Niederhuber, J. E., & Tepper, J. E. (2014). (2014). Uterine Cancer. Abeloff’s clinical oncology [5th ed.],88,1575-1591.e4. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders.