Sarcomas originate in tissues such as bones, muscle, fat, blood vessels or fibrous tissue such as tendons and ligaments. Uterine or endometrial sarcoma is a rare form of the disease representing less than 2 percent of uterine cancers — approximately 1,600 of the 52,630 new cases of uterine cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S.
Using leading-edge treatments and therapies, Scripps multidisciplinary teams are here for you and focused on beating uterine sarcoma cancer.
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There is no annual screening test for uterine sarcoma cancer. But recognizing signs and symptoms often associated with the disease, such as irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting, can aid in helping your physician provide the appropriate tests and make a diagnosis.
Women should talk with their doctor about starting regular gynecologic health screenings, starting with yearly pelvic exams and possibly other tests, depending on their family history and circumstances.
Tests to detect and diagnose this type of uterine cancer may include:
- Hysteroscopy is the insertion of a small telescope (diameter of one-sixth of an inch) into the cervix for a physician to view the uterus.
- Uterine (endometrial) sarcoma biopsies involve a tissue sample and can be performed through standard procedures or through outpatient dilation and curettage (D&C).
- Cystoscopy or proctoscopy under anesthesia is the insertion of slender tubes with a light and/or lens that allow doctors to see urinary organs and the rectum for possible spread of cancers.
- Transvaginal ultrasound is a procedure in which a probe is inserted into the vagina to bounce sound waves off the wall of the uterus and create images for physicians to review for any uterine sarcoma abnormalities in wall thickness and shape. The test can also help doctors see if nearby organs show abnormalities.
Treatment of uterine sarcoma cancer may include one or more of the following: surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus (and possibly the cervix) and can be performed through an abdominal incision, through the vagina or via minimally invasive procedures.
- Radical hysterectomy includes removal of uterus and surrounding tissues, the cervix and approximately 1 inch of the vagina and can be performed through an abdominal incision or through minimally invasive procedures.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and both ovaries.
- Lymph node dissection is the removal of lymph nodes from the pelvic region – and the area adjacent to the heart’s aorta to determine if the uterine sarcoma cancer has spread. The surgery can be performed through a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
Chemotherapy can be part of a treatment plan to attack uterine sarcoma cancer before surgery or after surgery — or for cancer that has spread from the uterus.
External beam radiation therapy may be provided as treatment or through a form of radiation therapy called brachytherapy where radioactive sources are placed directly into the body through catheters or small plastic tubes.
Complementary therapies, including therapeutic nutrition and supplementation, acupuncture, yoga and massage therapy, can help manage cancer symptoms.