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what is the risk of doing chemo after hysterectomy?

By July 22, 2014 - 7:38am
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Hi Dawn!

Thank you for sharing your question with the EmpowHER community!

Choosing whether or not to undergo Chemotherapy is a big decision and has it's fair share of pros and cons.

Chemotherapy is often elected to treat uterine cancer after a hysterectomy for the purpose of removing remaining cancer cells and for patients who are at risk for cancer returning. It is more likely for cancer to return if diagnosed with Stage II, III, or IV cancer. 

Chemo kills fast growing cancer cells, but also can do harm to normal cells. The risks of doing chemo are:

1. You may be prone to infections, bruise or bleed easily, and feel very weak and tired.

2. Hair loss.

3. Lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or mouth and lip sores.

You may also experience skin rash, tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, hearing problems, loss of balance, joint pain, or swollen legs and feet. Most of these side effects disappear after treatment and your doctor can suggest ways to manage these side effects.

Dawn, electing to do chemo after a hysterectomy is a big decision and you should discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. But, ultimately you need to do what you feel is best for you and your situation. I have come across studies that suggest there is an increased risk of tumors reoccurring if chemo is not treated within 9 weeks following surgery. Some experts suggest that the best time to start chemo is 1-4 weeks after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells and to protect against reoccurrence. Again, it is best to weigh out the good and the bad.

Here's a great article on treating cancer with fewer side effects. https://www.empowher.com/cancer/content/fighting-cancer-fewer-side-effects

I hope this helps! Have you recently had a hysterectomy? Are you considering chemo? 



July 23, 2014 - 12:49pm
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