Doctor's Notes on Uterine Cancer: Sarcoma
- vaginal bleeding that is not part of menstrual periods,
- bleeding after menopause,
- a mass in the vagina,
- abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness, and/or
- increased urinary frequency.
The disease can metastasize to other organs.
What causes uterine muscle and/or uterine supportive cells to become malignant is not known. However, risk factors associated with uterine sarcoma development are radiation to the pelvis and treatment with tamoxifen for breast cancer.
What Are the Treatments for Uterine Sarcoma?
The most common treatment for uterine sarcoma is surgery. Depending on the patient's condition, a single surgical procedure is possible to diagnose, stage, and surgically remove the uterine sarcoma. This may be done by the following procedure:
- Laparotomy: tissues removed and examined by a pathologist
- Abdominal and pelvis washings: Saline solution is placed in the patient's abdomen and pelvis, then removed and examined by a pathologist.
- If positive for sarcoma, then the patient may have a total hysterectomy and/or salpingo-oophorectomy.
- Radical hysterectomy (removal of ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and nearby tissues)
Some patients are given one or more of the following treatments to kill any remaining cancer cells:
- Chemotherapy: drugs that stops cancer cell growth or kills many types of tumor cells
- Radiation therapy: external (beams of X-rays or protons) or implantable radioactive compounds to stop growth or kill many types of tumors, including sarcomas
- Targeted therapy: drugs and/or other compounds that attack specific cancer cells
Other treatments are being researched in clinical trials; your inclusion in a clinical trial may be suggested by your medical team. Ask the team members if a clinical trial would be another option for treatment.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.