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Chemotherapy for Uterine Cancer

Chemotherapy for Uterine Cancer

Your doctor may suggest chemotherapy to treat your cancer in 1 of these cases:

  • You have had surgery to remove uterine sarcoma. Chemotherapy can help kill any remaining cancer cells.

  • You have no evidence that the cancer has spread outside the uterus, but the hysterectomy pathology findings reveal risk factors for the spread of disease. 

  • You are being treated with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

  • You are being treated with a combination of hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

  • The cancer is advanced, meaning it has spread, and cannot be controlled with other treatments.

  • The cancer has returned after you have already been treated. 

What happens during chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs. These drugs kill or slow the growth of cancer. This treatment is not commonly used for uterine cancer.

If you have chemotherapy, you’ll see a specialist (you should see a specialist for surgery too). You may see either type of these doctors for chemotherapy:

  • Medical oncologist. An internal medicine doctor who has had specialist training in using drugs to treat cancer.

  • Gynecological oncologist. A gynecologist with specialist training in treating cancers that affect a woman’s reproductive system.

It’s likely you’ll need more than 1 chemotherapy drug. This is called combination treatment. You may also have other types of treatment along with the chemotherapy.

If you’re getting chemotherapy, ask your doctor or nurse these questions:

  • What is the goal of the chemotherapy? 

  • What drugs will be used?

  • What are the common side effects?

  • What can you do to limit side effects?

You usually get chemotherapy as an outpatient. That means you have it at a hospital, at the doctor’s office, in an infusion clinic, or at home. However, depending on the drugs you are getting and your general health, you may need to stay in the hospital during treatment. You usually get drugs for uterine cancer as an infusion into a vein so that the drugs go into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.

Chemotherapy is given in cycles. This means that you will be treated for a period of time and then have some time to rest. Chemotherapy can be given on 1 day, a few days in a row, or continuously for a set amount of time. Your cycle of treatment could repeat every week or every month. The time from 1 treatment to the next is 1 cycle. Your doctor decides the schedule to follow based on your case.

Types of chemotherapy drugs used for uterine cancer/sarcoma

The chemotherapy drugs most commonly used for uterine sarcoma include these. You may have 1 of these or you may have a combination of drugs:

  • Adriamycin (doxorubicin hydrochloride)

  • Ifex (ifosphamide) 

  • Platinol (cisplatin) 

  • Taxol (paclitaxel)

  • Gemzar (gemcitabine)

  • Taxotere (docetaxel)

If you have advanced uterine sarcoma, your doctor may suggest you join a clinical trial. New medications or new combinations of older medications may help you. Talk with your health care team about these options. 

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