Endometrial cancer develops in the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. Some endometrial cancer is linked to an imbalance of hormones, specifically excess estrogen.
After surgery to remove the cancer, some women may also benefit from additional drug therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Your doctor will base recommendations for drug therapy on the stage of the cancer and lab tests of the tissue removed during surgery.
Types of drug therapy for endometrial cancer
The type of drug therapy your doctor recommends will depend on your particular cancer. Types include:
- Chemotherapy. One common treatment is to deliver a combination of 2 chemotherapy drugs once every 3 weeks, for 6 or 7 cycles.
- Hormone therapy. This therapy can be used to help reduce hormonal stimulation of microscopic cells that might be left behind after your surgery.
Approaches to drug therapy for endometrial cancer
Drug therapy varies for each individual person. In general:
- Chemotherapy drugs often are delivered by infusion, which sends the drug solution through a tube inserted into your blood vessel.
- Hormone therapy can be delivered by pills, by injection, or by an IUD (intrauterine device).
Possible side effects of drug therapy for endometrial cancer
Each patient is unique in how they respond to chemotherapy — just because you know someone who had problems with the treatment does not mean you will, too, even if you receive the same drug(s).
In general, side effects of chemotherapy may include:
- Weakened immune system and higher risk of infection
- Low blood cell count
- Nausea, which can be controlled with medicine
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Change in taste or loss of appetite
- Diarrhea or constipation
Your health care team can help you manage side effects with prescription medicine and other preventive measures.
Published April 2018
Stanford Health Care © 2018