Uterine cancer experts at Duke detect and treat cancer that occurs in the endometrial lining of the uterus, also known as endometrial cancer. Gynecologic oncologists in our nationally ranked cancer center complete years of advanced training and are specialists in treating cancers that affect the female reproductive system. We understand the impact uterine cancer has on your fertility, sexual function, psychological health and your family. We draw upon the latest research findings and our ongoing clinical trials to ensure you receive the best treatment for your condition.
Specialists in uterine cancer
If you have uterine cancer, having a gynecologic oncologist leading your team ensures you receive the best care available. Our gynecologic oncologists in Durham and Raleigh are specialists in treating cancers that affect the female reproductive system. We use our training and experience to tailor chemotherapy, radiation and surgical treatment options to minimize the impact on your fertility and sexuality. If surgery is needed, we have the training and experience to perform complex procedures on the female reproductive system. Our goal is to detect uterine cancer early, tailor your treatment, and increase your chances for a positive, long-term outcome.
Choose Duke for your uterine cancer treatment because we offer:
- A nationally-ranked cancer program. We are consistently ranked among the best cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Center, our uterine cancer team is recognized for exploring new treatment options through ongoing clinical trials. We can offer you the latest research discoveries before they are available elsewhere.
- Access to our clinical trials. You may be eligible to participate in our ongoing clinical trials. These trials explore new therapies including chemotherapy drugs that slow or kill cancer cells, immunotherapy drugs that boost your body’s ability to fight cancer, and biologic therapies that block the systems that allow cancer to grow in your body.
- Specialists in female reproductive system cancers. Studies show significant survival benefits exist when women with female reproductive system cancers are cared for by gynecologic oncologists.
- Fertility services for cancer survivors. If you are concerned about the impact of chemotherapy and/or radiation on your fertility, experts at the Duke Fertility Center will work closely with you to discuss fertility preservation treatments, which may include egg freezing, tissue banking, and experimental options that are available through our ongoing clinical trials.
- Convenient appointments. We schedule your appointments quickly, coordinate your schedule with your uterine cancer team, and work with you to develop the best treatment plan.
- Hereditary cancer clinic. The genetic counselors in our hereditary cancer clinic work with you if your family history puts you at increased risk of developing uterine cancer or if you have a family member who has tested positive for certain gene mutations.
- Comfortable surroundings. Our Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden area where patients — based on their treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
- Support services. Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment.
Often the first line of treatment. Removes the uterus and cervix. A radical hysterectomy also removes the upper part of the vagina and surrounding tissues, including lymph nodes, if cancer has spread. Hysterectomies may be performed through small incisions robotically or with a laparoscope. These minimally invasive options reduce scarring, minimize bleeding, shorten your hospital stay, and speed up your recovery.
Lymph nodes may be removed during hysterectomy to determine if your cancer has spread. Your surgeon may check just a few key lymph nodes, called a sentinel node dissection, or more lymph nodes may be removed during a full node dissection depending on how far your cancer has spread.
Uses external high energy X-rays to target the tumor and kill cancer cells. Our radiation oncologists are specially trained to deliver radiation for uterine cancer, and minimize damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Radiation therapy may be recommended following surgery or when surgery is not an option.
Administered orally or through an IV, chemotherapy may be recommended after surgery to slow cancer cells or kill cancer growth.
Drugs that involve the sex hormone progesterone may be given to slow or stop uterine cancer cell growth. May be used in combination with other treatments, or in women who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy.
Allows doctors to feel for any unusual changes or masses in the vagina, uterus and cervix.
Removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. An endometrial biopsy extracts tissue from the endometrial lining through a small tube inserted into the uterus. Biopsy is the definitive diagnostic tool for cancer, and can also determine if cancer has spread to surrounding tissue, including your lymph nodes.
Performed when abnormal bleeding is present and before uterine cancer is diagnosed. The uterus is dilated and a tool called a curette is used to remove additional endometrial tissue following biopsy. May be performed with a hysteroscopy, a thin, tube-like device that allows doctors to look inside the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Transvaginal ultrasound, X-ray, CT and MRI scans may be used to create high-quality images of your uterus and surrounding organs. Used to pinpoint the location of your tumor and whether it has spread.