Risk Factors | Screening and Diagnosis | Personalized Treatment | Additional Patient Support
Uterine cancer, or endometrial cancer, is the most common of the gynecologic cancers. The lifetime incidence of endometrial cancer in the U.S. is 1 to 2 percent, and typically occurs in women after menopause.
The experienced, collaborative team of specialists at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center combines the most advanced scientific knowledge and technology with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care, creating a program of personalized medicine and patient-centered care for each individual diagnosed with uterine cancer.
Drawing from the diverse experience of physicians, surgeons, nurses, researchers and a host of other highly trained healthcare professionals, the Kellogg Cancer Center team works collaboratively and is dedicated to putting patients—and families—at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.
As part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, NorthShore provides our patients even greater access to a broad network of experts. NorthShore and Mayo specialists share expertise and collaborate on complex disease diagnoses and treatments. Patients benefit from enhanced care at NorthShore, without the need to travel outside the region.
Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer Risk Factors
While there is no known cause of uterine cancer, there are some identified factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing a uterine cancer, including women with increased levels of natural estrogen. Other factors could include:
- Women who have never gotten pregnant or cannot bear children due to infertility
- Women who had their first period at an early age
- Women who stopped having their periods at a late age
- Women who have a history of endometrial polyps
- Postmenopausal women who use estrogen-replacement therapy
- Women who are overweight
Women who fall into these risk categories should be closely monitored by their physician. Symptoms can include abnormal uterine bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, difficult or painful urination, or pelvic pain. If you experience any of these symptoms be sure to talk to your physician.
Uterine Cancer Screening and Diagnosis
There is no standard method for screening for uterine cancer. However, all women should have an annual gynecologic examination, including a careful pelvic examination. Symptoms of post menopausal bleeding or bleeding between periods can be due to an endometrial cancer and will prompt a physician to evaluate the uterine lining by biopsy, otherwise known as a endometrial biopsy. Changes in the size shape or consistency of the uterus or its surrounding, supporting structures may exist when the disease is more advanced.
Should your physician suspect uterine cancer, your doctor may perform one of either a pap smear, an endometrial biopsy of the lining of the uterus, or a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. A D&C is a surgical procedure in which a small instrument called a curette through the vagina into the uterus and scraping the endometrium (lining of the uterus).
If a diagnosis of uterine cancer is made, your physician then determines the severity or stage of the cancer, including whether it has spread within the uterus or to other areas of the body.
Personalized Uterine Cancer Treatment
With uterine cancer, your physician may recommend one of several courses of treatment. The mainstay of uterine cancer treatment is surgical removal of the uterus and cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries, and pelvic and regional lymph node sampling. Surgery can be done through a traditional incision or through minimally invasive surgery, which involves small keyhole incisions and an advanced technology approach performed . When the cancer is still in its earliest stages, a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus, may be the best treatment. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be recommended. In some cases, hormone therapy may be a course of uterine cancer treatment.
Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets in a multidisciplinary conference to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. For uterine cancer, your team may include your medical oncologist, surgical oncologist, radiation oncologist, geneticist, pathologist, nutritionist, pharmacist, interventional radiologist, social worker and researchers, all focused on you. This "meeting of the minds" provides critical input, resulting in an individualized care plan outlining the best course of action for each patient.
Patients are at the center of this multidisciplinary team, and Kellogg staff arrange for them to be seen by their multidisciplinary team at one appointment, not only for their convenience but to provide a consensus on their course of treatment. Our use of one of the most advanced Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in the country enhances our open communication and promotes collaboration in our patient care.
Additional Patient Support
Kellogg Cancer Center’s unique services and resources assist patients and family members with a variety of challenges they may face from diagnosis, treatment and beyond. A wide array of support services are available to patients that include our integrative medicine services, financial advocacy and survivorship, to name a few.
For More Information
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2112.