Womb cancer - Treatment - Womb (uterus) cancer - Symptoms

Womb cancer is usually treatable when it’s found early.

The treatment you have for womb cancer will depend on:

  • the size of the cancer
  • where it is
  • if it has spread
  • your general health

It will usually include surgery, radiotherapy and, less commonly, may need chemotherapy. It may also include treatment with targeted medicines to treat the cancer.

The specialist care team looking after you will:

  • explain the treatments, benefits and side effects
  • work with you to create a treatment plan that’s best for you
  • help you manage any side effects, including any changes to your diet
  • talk to you about the impact your treatment may have on your fertility and sexual function

You'll have regular check-ups during and after any treatments. You may also have more tests and scans.

If you have any symptoms or side effects that you are worried about, talk to your specialists. You do not need to wait for your next check-up.

People can find it embarrassing to talk about menopausal or sexual side effects of treatment. Try not to be embarrassed. Your GP, specialist doctor or nurse will be used to talking about these kinds of symptoms.

Surgery

Surgery is often the main treatment for womb cancer. Especially if the cancer is found early.

Surgery for womb cancer will usually involve removing:

  • your womb and cervix (hysterectomy)
  • your ovaries and fallopian tubes

Depending on the type and location of cancer, surgery may also involve removing:

  • lymph nodes around your womb or in your pelvis
  • the upper part of the vagina that connects to the cervix
  • your bladder or rectum if cancer has returned or spread there

Recovery from surgery can take a long time. Your specialist team will talk to you about all the benefits and side effects.

A combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy may be used if the cancer has spread. This combination of treatment helps to remove as much of the cancer as possible.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays of radiation to kill cancer cells.

You may have radiotherapy for womb cancer:

  • as the main treatment if you cannot have surgery
  • if the cancer is large or has spread
  • after surgery, perhaps with chemotherapy, to help stop the cancer coming back

During your radiotherapy treatment, you can meet and be close to loved ones, including children and pregnant women. You do not become radioactive during radiation treatment for womb cancer.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is medicine that kills cancer cells.

You may have chemotherapy for womb cancer:

  • with radiotherapy (called chemoradiotherapy) as the main treatment for womb cancer if you cannot have surgery
  • after surgery (usually with radiotherapy) to help stop the cancer coming back
  • to help slow the cancer down and ease symptoms if it has spread to other parts of your body

Hormone therapy

You may have hormone therapy to ease symptoms or shrink and control the cancer if it has spread outside your womb.

This treatment may be suitable if you’re not well enough to have surgery or radiotherapy.

Care after your treatment

You will be given information on follow-up care after treatment.

It may also help to get support from family and friends before or between appointments.

The Irish Cancer Society has a list of supports for patients, their carers and survivors.

ThisisGO.ie is an online personalised resource, developed in Ireland. It is for you and your loved ones who have been impacted by a gynaecological cancer.

Its aim is to improve health and wellbeing for women impacted by cancer who are dealing with the side effects and consequences of treatment

Survivorship

Community cancer support centres are in most local communities and provide support services for cancer patients, their families and carers.

They have a wide range of programmes and supports available including:

  • counselling and psychological support
  • manual lymphatic drainage
  • physical activity programmes
  • survivorship programmes
  • complementary therapies

Find a list of the cancer support centres in your local area

Page last reviewed: 11 January 2022
Next review due: 11 January 2025