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Making the Decision to Have Chemotherapy for Endometrial Cancer

Chemotherapy is the use of cancer-fighting drugs given either as a pill or put directly into a vein. Although it is not commonly the first treatment used for endometrial cancer, your doctor may feel it is necessary based on the extent of your cancer and treatment plan. Chemotherapy is now the most effective type of therapy for people with advanced stage (outside the uterus) endometrial cancer. It's very important that your particular findings be put into context by an expert. Gynecologic oncologists are subspecialists with advanced training in the diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance of female cancers including endometrial cancer. Your doctor may suggest chemotherapy to treat you in one of these cases:

  • To add to your treatment with radiation

  • To add to your treatment with hormone therapy

  • After you’ve had surgery for endometrial cancer, chemotherapy can help make sure that all the cancer cells have been killed

In most cases, a combination of two or more chemotherapy medications is used. These medications are often used to treat endometrial cancer:

  • Adriamycin (doxorubicin hydrochloride)

  • Platinol (cisplatin)

  • Taxol (paclitaxel)

  • Paraplatin (carboplatin)

The most common combination is paclitaxel and carboplatin. 

If you have advanced endometrial cancer, meaning the cancer has spread far from your uterus, your doctor may suggest you join a clinical trial. New medications or new combinations of older medications may help you. Talk with your health care team about these options.