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Discharge Instructions for Cancer of the Uterus

Surgery is the most common treatment for both types of uterine cancer: endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. You may have just the uterus removed. This is called a hysterectomy. Or you may have the fallopian tubes and ovaries removed, too. This is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Lymph nodes in the area may also be removed. You may have radiation therapy after the surgery. In some cases, chemotherapy may be used as well.

Talk to your healthcare providers about how long you have to wait before going back to your normal activities, what your pain medicines are and how you should take them, and when you need to see your providers again. Be sure to follow any specific instructions given to you by your healthcare providers.

Make sure you:

  • Understand what you can and can’t do, and follow these instructions

  • Keep your follow-up appointments

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any questions or are concerned about any problems or changes in how you feel

Activity

You may have to limit some activities for a period of time after surgery. You may need extra rest throughout the day. But try to get up and move around as you are able. Ask family members or friends to help with shopping, meals, housework, and other tasks. Talk with your nurses or other hospital staff about having an aide or a visiting nurse through a home healthcare agency, if needed.

Make sure you know: 

  • When you can use stairs. Go slowly and pause after every few steps. Have someone with you at first. Try to plan your day so you don’t need to go up and down repeatedly.

  • Whether or not you can lift heavy objects.

  • When you can begin driving. Don't drive if you are taking pain medicine that causes drowsiness.

  • When you can do housework or yard work, or return to your job.

  • How much you should walk. Ask your healthcare provider what type of exercise might be good for you as you recover.

Other care

To help with your recovery and avoid complications you should:

  • Take only the medicines that your healthcare provider prescribes. Tell your healthcare provider if you take other medicines. These include prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and other supplements.

  • Take pain medicine as directed.

  • Do the coughing and breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.

  • Try to avoid constipation:

    • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    • Drink a lot of water and other healthy drinks.

    • Call your healthcare provider if you are having trouble with bowel movements. You may be prescribed a medicine. 

  • Talk with your healthcare providers about taking care of any incisions. 

  • Know when you can shower. Don’t take a tub bath until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Not put anything in your vagina. Don’t use tampons or douches until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Know when you can have sex again. It is very important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about this. The healing vagina is very weak and the suture line can separate.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have hot flashes or mood swings. There are medicines that can help you if needed.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as instructed. If you're going to get more cancer treatment after surgery, be sure you understand the plan and what you can do to be ready for treatment.

When to call your healthcare provider

Be sure you know how to reach your healthcare provider in case of emergency. Know what number to call on weekends, holidays, and in the evening, too. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following: 

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Chills

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding or a smelly discharge

  • Vaginal bleeding that is more than just spotting

  • Trouble urinating or burning when you urinate

  • Severe pain or bloating in your belly

  • Redness, swelling, drainage, opening, or any other changes at your incision site

  • Chest pain

  • Persistent nausea or vomiting

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing

  • Swelling in your legs

Talk with your healthcare provider about what signs to look for, and when you should call him or her.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.