Uterine sarcoma is a rare type of uterine cancer that forms in muscle or other tissues of the uterus. It usually occurs after menopause. The two main types are leiomyosarcoma, which beings in smooth muscle cells, and endometrial stromal sarcoma, which begins in connective tissue cells.
Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat uterine sarcoma. During the procedure, the surgeon removes as much of the tissue as possible. The following procedures may be used:
- Laparotomy in which an incision is made in the wall of the abdomen to check for signs of disease.
- Abdominal and pelvic washings in which a saline solution is placed into the abdominal and pelvic body cavities. The fluid is then removed and viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
- Total abdominal hysterectomy to remove the uterus and cervix, either a vaginal hysterectomy or a total abdominal hysterectomy. The uterus and cervix may also be removed through a small incision in the abdomen using a laparoscope, which is called a total laparoscopic hysterectomy.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy to remove both ovaries and both fallopian tubes.
- Lymphadenectomy to remove lymph nodes to check for signs of cancer.
Even if the surgeon removes all the cancer visible at the time of surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.