Patient Information

Surgery
Surgery is decided on an individual basis and your gynaecological surgeon will discuss with you the most appropriate type of surgery for you, depending on the stage of your cancer. Below is an overview of the main types of surgery:

Hysterectomy - this is the surgical treatment for womb cancer and involves the removal of the womb and on some occasions the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Often it is possible for the gynaecological surgeon to remove all the cancer during the operation so that no further treatment is necessary, however if the cancer cannot be removed entirely the patient may be recommended to undergo radiotherapy treatment and your surgeon will refer you to another member of the team - a clinical oncologist.

Radical hysterectomy - A radical hysterectomy is the removal of the womb, cervix, tissue around the cervix , fallopian tubes, pelvic lymph nodes, the upper part of the vagina, and sometimes the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

For more information please download this brochure.

Radical vulvectomy - This is a procedure used for women with a cancer of the vulva. The operation involves removing part of or the entire vulva and sometimes includes removing the clitoris.

Vaginectomy - An operation to remove the vagina. This is sometimes combined with a hysterectomy

Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is a treatment for cancer that uses high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. This is often given to women with some cancers of the womb, cervix and vulva. Sometimes radiotherapy is given after surgery if the surgeon was unable to remove all of the cancer of if there is a risk of the cancer returning.

Radiotherapy for a gynaecological cancer can cause side effects. These vary in their severity, time of onset and duration (according to the dose and length of treatment).

Side effects can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Skin sensitivity and vaginal narrowing
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Long-term changes in bladder or bowel functioning
  • Hormonal changes
  • Infertility

Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy involves the use of anti-cancer drugs that help to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used before or after surgery, with radiotherapy or given on its own. The chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously by injection into a vein.

Common physical side effects may include

  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Hair loss and thinning
  • Ulcers

UCL Hospitals is an NHS Foundation Trust incorporating the Eastman Dental Hospital, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson & Obstetric Hospital, The Heart Hospital, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, The Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital and University College Hospital.

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