Related Media: Hysterectomy
Surgery is the initial procedure in the treatment of many solid cancers. Surgery and other invasive procedures work by removing cancerous tissues.
Surgical removal of the uterus is recommended for all stages of uterine cancer unless the cancer is widespread. In the early stages, it may be curative.
The standard surgical procedure for uterine cancer is a total abdominal
and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. This involves removing the entire uterus, and both ovaries and fallopian tubes. In cases in which the risk of spread to lymph nodes is considered low, some lymph nodes will be removed to check for cancer cells. In more advanced or aggressive forms of the disease, the lymph nodes in the pelvis and possibly around the aorta (the large artery in the abdomen) are removed more completely.
During the procedure, the doctor may take samples from other tissue to check for cancer cells. This is done to determine the cancer’s stage.
A cut is made in the lower abdomen to expose the tissues and blood vessels that surround the uterus and cervix. The uterus is removed and the vagina is closed to prevent infection and to keep the intestines in place.
American Cancer Society website. Available at:
Bast R, Kufe D, et al, eds.
5th ed. Hamilton, Ontario: BC Decker Inc; 2000.
National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
Rakel R. Bope E, ed.
Conn's Current Therapy.
54th ed. St. Louis, MO: WB Saunders; 2002: 1094-1096.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
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