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Uterine Cancer Hormone Therapy

As one of the treatment options for uterine cancer, hormone therapy involves substances that prevent cancerous cells from getting or using the hormones they need to grow. Hormonal therapy is called a systemic therapy because it can affect cancer cells throughout the body. In most cases of uterine cancer, hormone therapy consists of a type of progesterone that is taken as a pill. Side effects associated with using hormonal therapy to treat uterine cancer include fluid retention, an increased appetite, weight gain, and changes in menstruation.

Uterine Cancer Hormone Therapy: A Summary

Most cases of uterine cancer occur in the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. This article uses the term "uterine cancer" to refer to this type of cancer, also known as endometrial cancer. This article does not discuss a rare type of uterine cancer that can occur in the muscles or other tissues that support the uterus. Click Uterine Sarcoma for more information on this topic.
 
Uterine cancer hormone therapy involves substances that prevent cancer cells from getting or using the hormones that they need to grow. Hormones can attach to hormone receptors, causing changes in uterine tissue. Before therapy begins, the doctor may request a hormone receptor test, which is a special lab test of uterine tissue. The receptor test helps doctors check if estrogen and progesterone receptors are present. If receptors are present, the woman is more likely to respond to hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapy is called a systemic therapy because it can affect cancer cells throughout the body. In most cases, hormone therapy consists of a type of progesterone that is taken as a pill.
 
The doctor may use hormone therapy for women with uterine cancer:
 
  • Who are unable to have surgery or radiation therapy
  • Who have uterine cancer that has spread to the lungs or other distant sites
  • Who have had a recurrence of uterine cancer.
 
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