An endometrial cancer diagnosis (also referred to as uterine cancer) brings a lot of emotions and many questions. It can be hard to wait until your first appointment to get more information! While only your doctors can give you specifics about your type of cancer and the treatment plan that’s best for you, we have developed some information that can help you prepare for what’s next.
Typically, the next step for endometrial cancer patients is to move from their gynecologist (or a primary care physician) to a gynecologic oncologist. This type of oncologist focuses specifically on cancers of a woman’s reproductive organs.
The gynecologic oncologist will typically oversee the entire cancer treatment plan and can perform surgery. Your oncologist will take the time to learn about your specific diagnosis and will consult with others on the cancer center team to develop a personalized treatment plan for you.
Endometrial cancer stages are typically expressed as a number on a scale of 0 through IV — with stage 0 representing contained, non-invasive cancers and stage IV representing cancers that have spread. The results of the biopsy and the images taken will allow your oncologist to determine the extent of your uterine cancer.
Read more about uterine cancer staging.
There are several factors that the surgeon will discuss with you to determine which surgery method should be used if surgery is needed. From preparation to recovery, we strive to find the least invasive approach that works best for you.
Radiation therapy can be given internally, externally, or both for endometrial cancer. It’s often used after surgery to be sure all of the cancer cells have been killed in the area where the tumor was removed.
Several other treatments for endometrial cancer can be used, especially if it has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body. These might include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Compass Oncology’s cancer specialists participate in uterine cancer research in hopes of being able to find and provide new treatments to patients. Research trials are now available at all of our locations throughout the Portland-Vancouver area. Talk to your endometrial cancer specialist to find out if a clinical trial is right for you.
At your first oncology appointment, you will receive a lot of information in a short period of time. Our care team has gathered some helpful tips on how you can remember what you're told and keep track of questions you'd like to ask your gynecologic cancer specialist.
We suggest getting a notebook to help stay organized and keep a record of important information. Take note of things such as how you’re feeling, medicines or supplements you’re taking, and any questions, thoughts, or observations you have regarding appointments and procedures. Try to put a date on everything you log down.
If a method other than paper works better for you, then commit to using it regularly. Having information written down (and on hand) can help keep the lines of communication open between you and your doctors.
Feeling confident about your endometrial cancer diagnosis is extremely important, which is why many patients choose to get a second opinion before beginning a specific treatment plan. At Compass Oncology, our physicians provide many second opinions on both endometrial cancer diagnosis and treatment options. Many insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, but it is still a good idea to contact your insurance provider for verification of coverage.
Watch the video below to learn about the importance of a second opinion for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The oncologists at Compass Oncology are available to discuss test results, cancer diagnosis, and treatment options.
Through this difficult time, the cancer specialists at Compass Oncology are here to help you every step of the way. We provide each patient with a binder containing more helpful tips and what to expect during your gynecologic cancer journey. Various community resources may help you too.
Following gynecologic cancer treatment, your doctors will want to monitor you closely. It’s very important to go to all of your follow-up appointments. These visits give your doctor an opportunity to address your questions and concerns, look for treatment-related side effects, and discuss other follow-up treatments that may be necessary.