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Surgical methods for uterine cancer

“The Vissing Foundation supports our study, which will test a gentler and more precise method of surgery, sentinel lymph node mapping, for women with uterine cancer. This method involves finding the first lymph nodes that drain a cancer tumour, instead of removing all the lymph nodes,” explains Sarah Marie Bjørnholt, doctor and PhD student at the Institut for Klinisk Medicin - Kvindesygdomme og Fødsler, Aarhus University

 

Doctors use a special microscopy technique to find small metastases in the lymph nodes that have been removed. This means they can make a more precise selection of which women should be given aftercare. If the method proves safe, more women can avoid full lymph node removal and serious side effects such as lymphoedema (chronic swelling in the legs).

 

In the study, two groups of women with uterine cancer are followed. In the first group the sentinel lymph node mapping technique is introduced in women with uterine cancer with a low risk of metastases and relapse. In the second group, the sentinel lymph node mapping technique is carried out in women with a high risk of metastases and relapse.

 

“Here we will clarify whether the method is safe, so that in the long term we can avoid removing all the lymph nodes in the abdomen and along the major artery. We compare the sentinel lymph node method with results from full-body scans and with the present form of treatment,” says Sarah Marie Bjørnholt.

 

The studies will contribute important new knowledge about the safety of the sentinel lymph node mapping technique for women with uterine cancer. These women are often elderly, and many have another medical condition or conditions. These women’s uterine cancer is often cured, and research is therefore important to find the gentlest surgical techniques without reducing the women’s survival rates.

 

In this study we evaluate a more gentle and precise surgical method, sentinel lymph node mapping, for women with uterine cancer. The method includes removal of the first lymph nodes that drain a cancer tumour, instead of extensive lymph node removal. A special microscopic technique is used to find very small metastases. The technique allows a more precise selection of women for additional cancer treatment. If the surgical method proves safe, more women can avoid full lymph node removal and serious side effects such as lymphoedema.

 

We examine the method in two groups of women

 

1. In women with uterine cancer with low risk of recurrence and metastases, we follow the implementation of sentinel lymph node mapping.

 

2. In women with high risk of recurrence and metastases, we investigate the safety of sentinel lymph node mapping.

 

We apply the method and compare the results with whole body scans and standard treatment. The studies will contribute with important new knowledge regarding safety and patient selection for sentinel lymph node mapping in women with uterine cancer. These women are often elderly, and many have comorbidities. Endometrial cancer is usually cured, which makes it important to find the most gentle surgical method, without reducing patient safety.