Our Approach to Uterine Cancer

The gynecologic oncology program at Siteman Cancer Center is the largest in the Midwest. Beyond the nationally renowned gynecologic cancer physicians, your team includes radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses, a psychologist, a social worker and genetic counselors. These specialists meet weekly to discuss patient care, providing a collective expertise not always available at other cancer centers. They see on average almost 300 cases of uterine cancer a year. Experienced nurses then spend time with you, answering your questions and putting you in touch with resources that may help during this stressful time. These nurses offer patient literature on your condition, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and other related issues. As a unique feature of your care, we also offer the services of a palliative care specialist who can help you fit treatment into your own special circumstances, if needed. Counselors are available to help handle the stress of diagnosis and treatment. Uterine cancer affects almost 55,000 women a year. Most uterine cancers start in the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Endometrial cancer is the most common female pelvic cancer. Thankfully, most women with this cancer are diagnosed at an early stage around the age of menopause because of irregular vaginal bleeding. Uterine sarcoma is an uncommon form of uterine cancer that forms in the muscle and tissue that support the uterus. Obesity, certain inherited conditions, and taking estrogen alone (without progesterone) can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Radiation therapy to the pelvis can increase the risk of uterine sarcoma. Taking tamoxifen for breast cancer can increase the risk of both endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. About five percent of uterine cancers are hereditary. Women with a family history of endometrial cancer may be at increased risk for developing cancer. Our genetic counselor provides an individualized assessment of cancer risk and up-to-date information regarding cancer genetics. The counseling process is based on a detailed evaluation of family and personal health history.

Fertility Preservation

Siteman Cancer Center and Washington University School of Medicine offer the latest fertility preservation treatments for both men and women who undergo chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery to treat or prevent their cancer. Specialists in our Infertility and Reproductive Medicine Center offer oocyte (egg) and embryo banking as well as sperm banking through cryopreservation (freezing). As a member of the National Oncofertility Consortium, Washington University also is researching other promising fertility-preservation procedures, such as ovarian tissue cryopreservation. Siteman cancer physicians are actively involved in clinical trials that investigate new chemotherapy regimens, and other approaches to cure. Having your cancer treated at Siteman gives you access to new therapies that are as good as – or potentially better than – current standard therapies available elsewhere.