Endometrial cancer is diagnosed when a woman who is having symptoms of unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or other discharge, pelvic pain and/or mass and weight loss. Your doctor will advise an endometrial biopsy or D&C to confirm the diagnosis. Diagnosis is often followed by hysterectomy surgery to treat and stage cancer.
Hysterectomy operation may include removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries (total hysterectomy bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy or TH/BSO). Lymph nodes from the pelvis and around the aorta may also be removed (a pelvic and para-aortic lymph node dissection [LND] or sampling) and examined for cancer spread. Pelvic washings may be done, too. The tissues removed at surgery are examined under a microscope to see how far cancer has spread (the stage). Depending on the stage of cancer, other treatments, such as radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be recommended.
For some women who still want to be able to get pregnant, surgery may be put off for a time and other treatments tried instead.
If cancer has spread outside the uterus, a different surgery may be planned. If cancer has spread to the inside of the liver, the lungs, or other organs, surgery may not be helpful, and so chemotherapy or other treatments may be used instead.
Laparoscopic surgery is also known as keyhole surgery. Nowadays, a laparoscopic hysterectomy is the preferred treatment method for removing the organs and surrounding tissues of the reproductive system. A laparoscopic hysterectomy is less invasive than a vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy because the incisions that are made are much smaller. This means that the wounds will be smaller and the recovery time will be quicker.
During the procedure, a small tube containing a telescope (laparoscope) and a tiny video camera will be inserted through a small incision in your abdomen. Laparoscopic hysterectomies are usually carried out under general anaesthetic.