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Cancer chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Unlike radiation therapy and surgery, which are localized treatments, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, meaning the drugs travel throughout the whole body. This means chemotherapy can reach cancer cells that may have metastasized to other areas.
Chemotherapy is not commonly used for endometrial cancer. The treatment may be ordered for advanced disease, when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, or if the disease recurs. The drugs are often given in combination and in cycles. All of these drugs are given intravenously at the doctor’s office or in the hospital.
Combination chemotherapy regimens used in uterine cancer include:
Doctors have yet to find a chemotherapy regimen that is curative or highly effective for advanced or recurrent uterine cancer. In various studies, the response rates to chemotherapy range from 36% to 67%. However, even in those who respond to treatment, the response lasts only 4-8 months on average.
Chemotherapy is sometimes combined with hormonal therapy for the treatment of advanced or recurrent uterine cancer.
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American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org.
Bast R, Kufe D, et al, eds. Cancer Medicine. 5th ed. Hamilton, Ontario: BC Decker Inc; 2000.
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.nci.nih.gov.
Rakel R. Bope E, ed. Conn's Current Therapy. 54th ed. St. Louis, MO: WB Saunders; 2002: 1094-1096.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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