Uterine Sarcoma (Endometrial Cancer)
After receiving a diagnosis of endometrial or uterine cancer, you may feel overwhelmed. Our compassionate expert team at the Women’s Cancer Program will guide you through the treatment process.
Uterine sarcoma (also known as endometrial cancer) occurs when cancer cells grow in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). It is the most common type of gynecologic cancer, and our doctors have extensive experience in research, care and treatment for it.
Some women may have certain risk factors that increase the chance of developing endometrial cancer. These risk factors include:
- Age: Women who have gone through menopause and are over age 50 have a greater risk of developing uterine cancer.
- Diabetes: Women with diabetes are four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer.
- Family history: Endometrial cancer may run in some families. Scientists have found that abnormalities in certain genes can lead to its development.
- Personal medical history: Women who have had breast or ovarian cancers also have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer. And women who have used the drug tamoxifen to treat breast cancer may have a slightly higher risk.
- Increased estrogen levels: A high level of estrogen is linked to endometrial cancer. Women who have received estrogen therapy (or hormone replacement therapy) or had polycystic ovarian syndrome or ovarian tumors may have higher estrogen levels than normal.
- Infertility: Women who have never been pregnant or are unable to become pregnant have a higher risk.
- Obesity: Women who are overweight are between two to five times more likely to get uterine cancer.
Most women come to the Women’s Cancer Program after receiving a cancer diagnosis from their gynecologist. Our team will conduct tests to confirm the presence of cancer and determine its stage (how advanced it is). Stage 1 signifies early disease, while Stage 4 means the cancer has spread significantly beyond the uterus.
The steps for diagnosing endometrial cancer involve:
- A transvaginal ultrasound: We insert into the vagina a lubricated probe that sends high-frequency sound waves through the uterus to create images. Women who have this test may also have a pelvic ultrasound, in which a technician passes a transducer over the lower abdomen. Combined, these tests allow us to see the entire reproductive system. If the uterus contains a mass or the endometrium appears thicker than usual, your doctor will collect a sample of tissue.
- An endometrial biopsy: Your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube through the cervix and into the uterus. Then we take a small sample of tissue from the endometrium. A pathologist (doctor who specializes in examining tissue samples for cancer and other diseases) will examine the cells under a microscope to determine if cancer is present.
- A dilation and curettage, if necessary: If the biopsy results are inconclusive, a gynecologic oncologist will perform this procedure. You will receive local or general anesthesia so the surgeon can remove a larger sample of the endometrium for testing.
Our gynecologic oncologists use the latest technology and techniques to provide you with a customized treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Our team works together to determine the most effective treatment for you.
Your treatment method may use one approach or a combination:
- Surgery: Our goal is to remove as much of the cancer as we can in the least invasive way possible. This approach can help minimize pain and recovery time.
- Chemotherapy: This aggressive medication slows the growth of cancer cells. Our team will determine the correct chemotherapy dosage for you and help manage any possible side effects.
- Radiation therapy: Specialists from the Cedars-Sinai Radiation Oncology Department administer high-dose radiation beams directly at the tumor to shrink or eradicate it.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy drugs help your body’s immune system fight cancer.
- Hormone therapy: Your doctor may prescribe medications that prevent or interfere with the growth of certain hormones that help cancer cells grow. We may use this approach alone or combined with other treatments.
- Clinical trials: Through our clinical trials program, we can offer new treatments, approaches and medicine to our patients before they are available to the general public.
At the Women's Cancer Program, we treat the whole woman—body, mind and spirit. We will guide you through this process, before, during and after treatment. Our resources include:
- Palliative care services: The Cedars-Sinai Supportive Care Medicine Program will help you maintain the best possible quality of life during endometrial cancer treatment.
- Oncofertility help: The Cedars-Sinai Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center provides fertility management services for women of childbearing age with endometrial cancer.
- Recovery assistance: We offer nutrition counseling, fitness classes and stress-relief training through the Cedars-Sinai Survivorship Program.
Why Choose Cedars-Sinai for Endometrial Cancer Care?
Our gynecologic oncologists are also researchers who participate in leading scientific studies. With this in-depth knowledge of both treatment and science, we bring the newest advancements directly to patients. You will also benefit from:
- Nationally recognized doctors: All of our board-certified gynecologic oncologists serve as leaders with national cancer organizations. They also lead international research dedicated to furthering the understanding and treatment of gynecologic cancer.
- Collaborative care: Our doctors hold weekly conferences and preoperative meetings to strategize on the most challenging cases and establish the most effective treatment plan, tailored to your needs. Women who have had breast cancer have a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer, so we work closely with the oncologists at the Cedars-Sinai Breast Cancer Program.
- Reproductive assistance: Most women diagnosed with uterine cancer are already in menopause. For younger women who want to have a child after treatment, we will work with the specialists at the Cedars-Sinai Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center.
- Leading-edge treatment options: We use the most advanced and minimally invasive surgical tools, such as robotic surgery, to treat uterine cancer. These techniques will help you heal faster and with less discomfort.
- Clinical trials: We always have a large selection of ongoing clinical trials. If eligible, you may be able to receive one of these new treatment approaches or drugs before they're widely available.
- Support services: During treatment and recovery, the Cedars-Sinai Supportive Care Services team provides emotional, physical and spiritual support.
Give us a call and we will help you find the right care as soon as possible.