Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that affects the uterus lining called the endometrium. It’s a common gynecologic cancer that can affect a woman in any age group. However, it’s more common in post-menopausal women.
Ideally, endometrial cancers occur from the cells in the uterine wall multiplying abnormally, resulting in a cancerous tumor. Several factors can cause this, including hormonal imbalance alleged in the uterine cancer lawsuit where a hair straightening product caused endometrial cancer. Other factors such as age, obesity, and genetics can also increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Receiving an endometrial cancer diagnosis isn’t easy, and you can feel overwhelmed, anxious, and confused. However, several treatment and support options are available if you get an endometrial diagnosis.
Here’s what to do after an endometrial cancer diagnosis:
- Find A Specialist
Once you have the endometrial cancer diagnosis, find a gynecologic oncologist. This is a trained specialist and expert in gynecologic cancers such as endometrial cancer. A gynecologic oncologist can give you a detailed evaluation of your situation, explain available treatment options, recommend the best option for your condition, and respond to your questions.
You can find a great gynecologic oncologist through friends, family, and doctor recommendations. Consider also searching online for endometrial cancer specialists in your area. From the online list of specialists you find, check the online reviews and the information on their website to determine if they’re good. Visiting the clinics and meeting with the specialists can help you decide whether to continue with them or find another doctor.
- Understand Your Cancer Stage
The gynecologic oncologist will check the size of the tumor, how far it has spread, and any affected organs to determine its stage. Stage 0 is the earliest stage, with cancer only present in the uterine lining. In contrast, stage IV is critical, which means cancer has spread to other organs.
Understanding your cancer’s stage is crucial to determine the best cause of action. Your doctor would give you the treatment options for your stage and explain how each intervention works and any expected side effects. This information can help you decide on the best intervention and how to proceed.
- Discuss Treatment Options
Some of the treatment options for endometrial cancer include the following:
- Surgery: This is the most common treatment option, which aims to eliminate the cancerous tissue from the uterine wall and other organs that may be affected. For example, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy, an extraction of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tube. The extent of damaged uterine tissue would determine how intensive the surgery would be. Suppose cancer has affected the nearby lymph nodes; you may need a lymph node dissection.
- Radiation therapy: This method uses high-energy x-rays and other types of radiation to attack cancerous cells. Your doctor can suggest radiation therapy before or after surgery to reduce or eliminate any remaining cancer cells. This treatment can also be offered as the primary intervention in some cases, depending on your stage.
- Chemotherapy: This method uses drugs to kill cancerous cells. Your doctor can recommend chemotherapy with other treatment options, such as surgery and radiation therapy. Further, chemotherapy may be a primary treatment if endometrial cancer progresses.
Your gynecologic oncologist would recommend the best treatment option for the condition, depending on your stage and overall health.
- Consider Clinical Trials
Consider enrolling for clinical trials for new treatment options and drugs. Clinical trials are research tests for new drugs, treatments, and procedures to determine their efficacy and safety. If you’re not responding positively to the standard treatment options recommended by your doctor, you can consider clinical trials. This is because you’ll have access to new treatments before they’re rolled out, which can take time.
- Find Support
An endometrial diagnosis isn’t easy, and it can be emotionally draining. Having the support of your family, friends, or a professional counselor, such as a psychiatrist or therapist, can help you deal with the stress and anxiety of such a diagnosis. In addition, having someone accompany you for treatments can make the process easy and manageable.
You can also find a support group for women with endometrial cancer. Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment where you can talk about your experiences and connect with others with similar challenges. This can give you a sense of community where you don’t have to feel alone. You can find a support group suitable for you in a hospital, online communities, and cancer centers.
An endometrial diagnosis can significantly change your life. Likewise, lifestyle changes can help improve your overall health and well-being. Make sure you’re having healthy balanced meals and exercising regularly. You can also avoid risky behavior such as smoking and consuming alcohol to decrease the chance of cancer recurrence and advance your life quality. Moreover, adhering to treatment options recommended by your gynecologic oncologist can help you deal with the endometrial diagnosis.