Are You Still at Risk of Endometrial Cancer After a Hysterectomy?

If you have already had your uterus removed via a hysterectomy, you are not at risk of developing endometrial cancer

What Is Endometrial Cancer?

Endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer, is the most common type of cancer that starts in the uterus and is often diagnosed in women ages 55 or older. It occurs when healthy cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) mutate into abnormal cells that begin to multiply and form a tumor.

While most endometrial cancers are typically endometrioid endometrial carcinomas, they can also be:

  • Adenocarcinoma (i.e., endometrioid endometrial carcinoma)
  • Uterine carcinosarcoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Small cell carcinoma
  • Transitional carcinoma
  • Serous carcinoma

After a woman has been diagnosed with endometrial cancer, a doctor may suggest a number of available treatment options. These may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. If detected early enough, removing the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries may be the only treatment needed.

What Are the Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer?

  • Abnormal discharge or vaginal bleeding (bleeding between periods or after menopause)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Weight loss
  • A bulge or mass

If you experience any of these symptoms, please see your doctor.

Who Is Most at Risk of Developing Endometrial Cancer?

While the cause of endometrial cancer is not clear, there are some groups who may be more at risk, including women who:

  • Are older in age
  • Started menstruation at an early age (before 12 years old)
  • Have never been pregnant
  • Struggle with obesity
  • Inherit a genetic history of high rates of endometrial or colon cancer
  • Treated breast cancer with tamoxifen
  • Suffer from irregular ovulation patterns that alter the balance of estrogen

What Are the Treatment Options for Endometrial Cancer?

If it hasn’t spread to other areas of the body, surgery is typically the first treatment option for women with endometrial cancer. This is done through a hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy where the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are completely removed. All tissues that are surgically removed are tested for spread of disease. A surgeon may also decide to remove  regional lymph nodes in order to determine the stage of cancer.

Surgery is likely to cure endometrial cancer in most cases, but a doctor may suggest further treatment depending on the likelihood of recurrence or the stage.

Radiation therapy is another method for treating endometrial cancer or lowering the risk of recurrence. Radiation therapy uses  high-energy X-rays, protons or other particles to kill cancer cells. This treatment may be recommended after surgery to decrease the chance of the cancer returning.

Chemotherapy is a chemical drug administered intravenously or in pill form. A surgeon may recommend chemotherapy after surgery if endometrial cancer has spread beyond the uterus.

Hormone therapy is a medication-based treatment that lowers the hormone levels in the body and weakens cancer cells that rely on hormones to grow. It’s often a follow-up treatment to surgery or radiation if endometrial cancer spreads to other areas.

How Can You Prevent Endometrial Cancer?

While it cannot always be prevented, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing endometrial cancer.

  • Maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle
  • Understand the risks involved with hormone therapy by speaking with your doctor
  • Oral contraceptives are believed to reduce your risk of endometrial cancer (check with your doctor before taking them)

Seek Endometrial Cancer Treatment in Southwestern Oregon

If you have recently been diagnosed with endometrial cancer, the Community Cancer Center in Roseburg is here to help you navigate the next steps. Our team of oncologists can provide you with a personalized treatment plan.

We offer surgery and radiation treatment options for cancer patients living in the Roseburg area.

To schedule an endometrial cancer consultation, call 541-673-2267 (ext. 5100) or send us a message.