Also known as:
Endometrial cancer, Cancer, uterine, Cancer, endometrial
focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and management of female reproductive cancers.
What is uterine sarcoma?
Cancer is made of changed cells that grow out of control. The
changed (abnormal) cells often grow to form a lump or mass called a tumor. Cancer
cells can also grow into (invade) nearby areas. And they can spread to other parts
of the body. This is called metastasis.
Uterine sarcoma is a type of cancer that starts in the muscular
wall of the uterus (myometrium).
The uterus is made up of 3 layers:
Endometrium. This is the
Myometrium. This is the
middle muscle layer.
Serosa. This is the outer
Most cancers in the uterus are not uterine sarcoma. They are
endometrial cancers. They start in the inner lining of the uterus.
The uterus is an organ that is part of the female reproductive
system. You may know it as the womb. The uterus is usually pear-shaped and about the
size of a fist. It is located in the lower belly (pelvic area), between your bladder
and your rectum. The uterus protects a growing baby during pregnancy. During labor,
the myometrium muscle tissue helps push the baby out through the cervix. The smooth
serosa makes it easy for the uterus to move in the pelvis as needed.
Who is at risk for uterine sarcoma?
A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of having
a disease. The exact cause of someone’s cancer may not be known. But risk factors
can make it more likely for a person to have cancer. Some risk factors may not be in
your control. But others may be things you can change.
The risk factors for uterine sarcoma include:
Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors for
uterine sarcoma and what you can do about them.
Can uterine sarcoma be prevented?
Researchers don’t yet know how to prevent this type of cancer.
Are there screening tests for uterine sarcoma?
Some types of cancer may be found with a screening test.
Screening means checking for a health problem before a person has symptoms. It
may find some types of cancer early, when they’re often easier to treat. There
are no screening tests for uterine sarcoma for women who don’t have symptoms.
But regular pelvic exams and Pap smears can help find problems. If your
healthcare provider thinks you are at high risk, he or she can check for uterine
sarcoma in these 2 ways:
What are the symptoms of uterine sarcoma?
The main symptom you may notice is unusual vaginal bleeding or
other vaginal discharge. After menopause, it’s not normal for any amount of vaginal
bleeding to occur. Other rare but possible symptoms include:
These may be caused by other health problems. But it is important
to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare
provider can tell if you have cancer.
How is uterine sarcoma diagnosed?
If your healthcare provider thinks you may have uterine sarcoma,
you will need exams and tests to be sure. Your healthcare provider will ask you
about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors, and family history of
disease. He or she will also give you a physical exam. You may also have one or more
of these tests:
A biopsy can show if you have cancer and, if so, the type of
cancer. Small pieces of tissue are taken out and checked for cancer cells.
After a diagnosis of uterine sarcoma, you may have other tests.
These help your healthcare providers learn more about the cancer. They can help
determine the stage of the cancer. The stage is how much and how far the cancer has
spread (metastasized) in your body. It is one of the most important things to know
when deciding how to treat the cancer.
Once your cancer is staged, your healthcare provider will talk
with you about what the stage means for your treatment. Be sure to ask your
healthcare provider to explain the stage of your cancer to you in a way you can
How is uterine sarcoma treated?
Your treatment choices depend on the type of uterine sarcoma you
have, test results, and the stage of the cancer. The goal of treatment may be to
cure you, control the cancer, or help ease problems caused by the cancer. Talk with
your healthcare team about your treatment choices, the goals of treatment, and what
the risks and side effects may be.
Types of treatment for cancer are either local or systemic. Local
treatments remove, destroy, or control cancer cells in one area. Systemic treatments
are is used to destroy or control cancer cells that may have traveled around your
Local treatments for uterine sarcoma include:
Systemic treatments include:
You may have just 1 treatment or a combination of treatments.
Treatments before surgery are called neoadjuvant treatment. For
example, you may have radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy before surgery.
These treatments may help shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove
Or you may have other treatments after surgery. This is called
adjuvant treatment. For example, you may have radiation or hormone therapy after you
have healed from surgery. The goal is to kill any cancer cells that may be left in
your body. Even if there is no sign of cancer cells, your doctor may still advise
adjuvant treatment. It helps reduce the risk that the cancer may come back or
Talk with your healthcare providers about your treatment options.
Make a list of questions. Think about the benefits and possible side effects of each
option. Talk about your concerns with your healthcare provider before making a
What are treatment side effects?
Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation can damage
normal cells. This can cause side effects such as hair loss, mouth sores, and
vomiting. Talk with your healthcare provider about side effects you might have and
ways to manage them. There may be things you can do and medicines you can take to
help prevent or control side effects.
Coping with uterine sarcoma
Many people feel worried, depressed, and stressed when dealing
with cancer. Getting treatment for cancer can be hard on your mind and body. Keep
talking with your healthcare team about any problems or concerns you have. Work
together to ease the effect of cancer and its symptoms on your daily life.
Here are tips:
Talk with your family or friends.
Ask your healthcare team or social worker for help.
Speak with a counselor.
Talk with a spiritual advisor, such as a minister or
Ask your healthcare team about medicines for depression or
Keep socially active.
Join a cancer support group.
Cancer treatment is also hard on the body. To help yourself stay
healthier, try to:
Eat a healthy diet, with as many protein foods as
Drink plenty of water, fruit juices, and other liquids.
Keep physically active.
Rest as much as needed.
Talk with your healthcare team about ways to manage
treatment side effects.
Take your medicines as directed by your team.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
Your healthcare provider will talk with you about when to call.
You may be told to call if you have any of the below:
New symptoms or symptoms that get worse
Signs of an infection, such as a fever
Side effects of treatment that affect your daily function or
don't get better with treatment
Ask your healthcare provider what signs to watch for, and when to
call. Know how to get help after office hours and on weekends and holidays.
Key points about uterine sarcoma
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare
Know the reason for your visit and what you want to
Before your visit, write down questions you want
Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and
remember what your provider tells you.
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and
any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions
your provider gives you.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how
it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the
results could mean.
Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have
the test or procedure.
If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date,
time, and purpose for that visit.
Know how you can contact your provider if you have