If a woman is found to have cancer of the uterus, surgery will be performed to determine the extent of the disease (stage) and how it should be treated. Stage refers to the extent (if any) to which the cancer has spread. The stages range from early to advanced (I through IV). Staging helps your doctor decide what treatment will have the best chance for success.
About 75% of the women diagnosed with uterine cancer have stage I disease. Of these women, 85 - 90% will have no evidence of cancer 5 years or more after treatment. As the cancer becomes more advanced, the chance for a cure decreases.
Most patients have both hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes). Tissue from lymph nodes in the pelvic area may also be tested to find out if the cancer has spread. Some cases of uterine cancer may also require radiation therapy after surgery.
If tests show that the cancer has spread or recurred after surgery and radiation therapy, your doctor may recommend additional drug therapy. Progestin (a hormone) therapy or chemotherapy may be used to treat uterine cancer that has spread to other organs.
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