Science Questions

Are there treatments for womb cancer?

Sun, 5th Oct 2008

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Gerry, Bury St Edmonds asked:

Are there treatments for womb cancer?


Chris - Yes, there are. This is endometrial cancer. It's not that common but common enough that it's a major problem. Obviously it only affects women because men don't have a uterus. the common associations are it tends to be in people who've been exposed to certain hormones in life. It's also linked ot certain types of breast cancer, it's genetic and it's also linked to people that are carrying a bit too much weight. All those things are risk factors for endometrial cancer. The sign that it might be going to happen is people develop bleeding when they shouldn't be bleeding. In other words, when they're post-menopausal or inter-menstrually so that's a sign there might be something wrong. In terms of dealing with it there are a number of approaches. One of them is surgery. If you remove the organ then that takes the cancer out of the body. The other way to do it is sometimes used in addition to subsequent surgical treatment which is that you can use radiation. You can put these pods, if you like, into the vagina and they contain a radioactive source which is put up close to where the uterus is. The radiation comes out, goes into the cancerous cells and damages them. Then you can kill the cancer that way. Then you withdraw the whole apparatus and this is a way of preventing it. There's a number of different treatments and there's also people investigating various hormonal treatments as well. I don't know of any clinical trials that are doing that at the moment.


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