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Making the Decision to Have Radiation Therapy for Uterine Sarcoma

Your doctor may suggest radiation to treat uterine sarcoma if any of these statements is true for you:

  • You are not able to have surgery. In rare cases, you may have only radiation. This may destroy all the cancer if the tumor is small.

  • You are getting ready to have surgery for uterine sarcoma. Radiation before surgery may help shrink the tumor. This makes it easier to remove. Having radiation before surgery is called neoadjuvant therapy.

  • You recently had surgery for uterine sarcoma. Having radiation after surgery is called adjuvant therapy. This can help lower the chance of the cancer coming back.

  • You are getting chemotherapy or hormone therapy to treat uterine sarcoma. In this case, radiation destroys cancer cells to ease symptoms.

  • You have a large tumor, or the cancer has spread. In this stage, radiation may ease your symptoms.

There are 2 main ways of getting radiation:

  • External radiation. The radiation, which comes from a machine, is pointed to the skin over the tumor.

  • Internal radiation (also called brachytherapy). This method involves placing radioactive material inside you, into, or near the tumor. This material will be left in for as little as less than an hour or up to a few days, then removed. More than 1 treatment may be necessary. It can help lower the risk of the cancer returning without adding the risks associated with radiating your whole pelvis.

You will talk with a doctor, called a radiation oncologist, who specializes in both cancer and radiation. This doctor decides what your treatment will be and how long it will last. During your visit, ask what you can expect to feel during and after the treatment.