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It’s normal to worry about what uterine cancer will mean for you and your family. You may have questions such as: What are my chances of being cured? How long will I live? The answers to these questions help to determine your prognosis. Your prognosis is the likely outcome of your cancer, including the risk that your cancer will return after treatment and the risk of death associated with your cancer.
You should be treated by a gynecologic oncologist, a subspecialist in the diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers.
To determine your prognosis, your doctor will take many different factors into account, including:
Outcomes among other women who have had uterine cancer. The averages of all these experiences are used to create uterine cancer statistics.
Your doctor’s experience treating other women who have uterine cancer
Your own case. This includes the type, stage, and grade of your cancer, your general health, whether you’ve had cancer before, and your age. If your cancer is only within the uterus, it may be cured with surgery.
Ask your doctor to help you understand what the statistics may mean for you. Keep in mind that even your doctor cannot tell you exactly what will happen. Your prognosis may change over time if the cancer progresses or if treatment is successful.
Some women feel less frightened when they learn about their prognosis. Some use this information to help them make decisions about tests or treatments. For others, a prognosis is confusing, scary, and too impersonal to be of use. It’s your choice how much information to accept and how to deal with it.
It makes some sense to plan for every possibility when you’re facing a serious disease such as cancer. Still, don’t allow statistics to dictate your future. There are women who have outlived their doctor’s predictions. Your prognosis gives a perspective, but it is not etched in stone. Try to focus your thoughts on the tens of thousands of women who have survived uterine cancer. You may be one of them.
How well treatment works for women with uterine sarcoma depends on the type, grade, and stage of cancer. Uterine sarcoma is potentially more aggressive than endometrial carcinoma and can be difficult to treat. This is because it may not be found until after it has already begun to spread. Unfortunately, that means survival rates are lower than for other cancers such as endometrial carcinoma. These are the facts for the type of uterine sarcoma called leiomyosarcoma, according to the National Cancer Institute:
The five-year survival rate for women whose cancer is found before it has spread outside the uterus is about 60 percent.
The five-year survival rate for women whose cancer is found after it has spread outside the uterus to other organs, such as the bladder, rectum, bone, or lung, is about 15 percent.
Many doctors encourage a woman with uterine sarcoma to take part in a clinical trial. They hope to find better ways to treat this form of cancer. You may benefit from their research.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.