How is uterine cancer treated?
Every patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives a personalized treatment plan put together by our team of gynecologic oncologists. Your care team will also work closely with specialists in our next-generation genomic sequencing laboratory to help pinpoint your exact type of tumor and the most effective way to treat the cancer.
Our philosophy is to find the plan that not only treats the cancer, but also fits you as a patient. Your team will consider your specific diagnosis and type of tumor, the stage of disease, size and location of tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. We also work closely with physical therapists, nurses, nutritionists and psychosocial experts to ensure we address any potential side effects of treatment.
Surgery is the most common treatment for uterine cancer. The type of surgery used depends on the size and stage of the tumor as well as your overall health and whether you plan to have children in the future.
During surgery, your doctor will remove the tumor and may also remove surrounding tissues, organs and lymph nodes. In many cases, gynecologic cancers can be treated with minimally invasive or robotic surgeries. As leaders in gynecologic cancer surgery, Miami Cancer Institute has one of the largest minimally invasive gynecologic surgical programs in the region. The Institute also holds a designation as a center of excellence in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery by the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL).
Miami Cancer Institute also takes a multi-specialty approach to gynecologic surgeries, and your care team will collaborate with surgery specialists from different treatment areas to help create a comprehensive care plan for you.
Surgery to treat uterine cancer may include:
- Laparoscopic surgery - This minimally-invasive technique is used to remove the uterus and other tissue through the vagina and small incisions in the abdomen.
- Robotic surgery - techniques. During this procedure, the surgeon will use finger and foot controls to guide a robot that removes the tumor and surrounding tissue. Miami Cancer Institute gynecologic oncologists specialize in this type of surgical treatment.
- Hysterectomy - During this procedure, surgeons will remove the entire uterus and cervix. In some cases, surgeons will also remove some surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. If the surgeons also remove part of the vagina, this is known as a radical hysterectomy. Our surgeons are trained in conducting these procedures with minimally-invasive techniques, including laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery techniques.
- Pelvic exenteration - This is a radical procedure that is only used for women with cancer that has spread beyond the uterus, and who have limited treatment options. During this procedure, surgeons remove all the reproductive organs. In some cases, surgeons may also remove the rectum, urethra and bladder. If you are undergoing pelvic exenteration, your care team will work with you on options to reconstruct any organs that are removed, so you can continue to live a full life after treatment.
After surgery for uterine cancer, our experts will help you through enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS), a nationally recognized recovery method that allows patients to heal faster with less pain. This method, which avoids the use of narcotics, involves a cross-team approach between your nurses and anesthesiologists.
In some cases, your care team may decide to combine surgery with other treatments, including:
- Radiation therapy - This may involve giving radiation externally, internally, or both. The internal radiation treatment (brachytherapy) involves placing radioactive material in tiny tubes and implanting the tubes in vaginal tissue.
- Hormone therapy - This type of treatment uses hormones to block cancer cells from growing.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care. Stem cell transplantation experts and hematologic oncology experts are also available to discuss complex cases.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
South Florida's First Proton Therapy Center
Proton therapy is a highly specialized treatment that directs proton particles toward tumors to destroy cancer cells while largely sparing healthy tissue and decreasing the risk of side effects. This sophisticated treatment is used only for certain types of cancers and in a limited number of individuals.