Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy for endometrial cancer is usually given intravenously (injected into a vein). You may be treated in the doctor’s office or the outpatient part of a hospital.
The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach all parts of the body. This is why chemotherapy can be effective in treating endometrial cancer that has spread beyond the uterus. However, the same drugs that kill cancer cells may also damage healthy cells. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles. Periods of chemotherapy treatment are alternated with rest periods when no chemotherapy is given.
Some side effects may still occur. Most women with endometrial cancer receive intravenous chemotherapy that is usually given after surgery, but may be given prior to hysterectomy surgery is some circumstances. Commonly used chemotherapy drugs include: carboplatin, cisplatin, paclitaxel, docetaxel, doxorubicin and others. These medications are given either alone or in combination. The combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel is typically the most commonly used therapy for patients requiring chemotherapy for endometrial cancer.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Each person responds to chemotherapy differently. Some people may have very few side effects while others experience several. Most side effects are temporary. They include:
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Increased chance of infection
- Bleeding or bruising easily
- Hair loss