Endometrial Cancer Treatment Program

The Center for Gynecologic Oncology provides compassionate care for patients with endometrial cancer.


The experienced doctors at the Center for Gynecologic Oncology provide multidisciplinary care for women with any stage of endometrial cancer.

Innovative Approaches

We treat thousands of women with gynecologic cancers each year.  Studies show that such high-volume experience results in improved patient outcomes. Among the approaches offered here are:

  • Advanced diagnostics through imaging and pathology
  • Intraoperative radiation therapy
  • Robotic-assisted and minimally invasive surgeries
  • Advanced radiation therapy techniques, some offered at only a few other centers nationwide
  • Access to leading-edge therapies through clinical trials conducted with hospitals in the Harvard system and nationally with the Gynecologic Oncology Group

Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancers

Our pathologists are sub-specialized in identifying gynecologic cancers. This expertise leads to more accurate diagnosis and staging, forming the basis for your treatment.

Our gynecologic cancer pathologists are internationally recognized and consulted on the diagnosis of endometrial cancer. They participate in tumor board meetings, sharing information about each patient’s unique cancer with the entire treatment team to help guide care planning.

Our skilled radiologists employ the most advanced imaging methods and perform image-guided interventional procedures such as CT-guided biopsy. 

Advancing Care by Improving Medicine

Determining the right approach to treating your cancer depends on a detailed pathology report and your doctor’s ability to balance benefits and side effects based on your overall health and genetic markers of your disease. Patients treated here have the advantage of knowing:

  • their medical oncologist has a history of caring for women with the same type of disease
  • that the resources of a major medical center are available to help them with any side effects that may arise

Your medical oncologist may recommend traditional or novel approaches to treating your disease such as:

  • Hormone therapy
  • New combinations of chemotherapies
  • Biologic treatments
  • Clinical Trials

Excellence in Surgical Care

Our gynecologic cancer surgeons are highly experienced in the treatment of gynecologic cancers and are recognized leaders in their fields. Research has shown that surgeons performing higher volumes of particular procedures can often offer patients better outcomes, such as shorter hospital stays and fewer complications. We offer the latest surgical innovations with emphasis on minimally invasive procedures.  These include:

  • Robotic-assisted and laparoscopic hysterectomy with surgical staging for patients with endometrial cancer; studies have shown this approach results in a quicker recovery and less postoperative discomfort
  • Comprehensive lymph node dissection to identify microscopic spread of cancer that otherwise might escape detection by imaging tests
  • Cytoreductive surgery techniques for women with advanced disease, which can result in a better long-term outcome

Pioneering Radiation Therapies

We offer a full spectrum of radiation therapy treatments including some approaches available at just a few other medical centers in the United States:

  • Proton beam therapy for some women with endometrial and vulvar tumors
  • Intraoperative radiation therapy
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy
  • Outpatient high-dose rate brachytherapy

Learn more about radiation therapy.

Meet the Team

Your personalized treatment plan will be developed by experts from an array of gynecologic cancer specialties. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your cancer, this treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these therapies.

The specialists involved in your care may include:

  • Medical Oncologists to prescribe the most effective chemotherapy treatments and discuss available clinical trials
  • Radiation Oncologists who specialize in delivering the highest therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Surgical Oncologists experienced in the latest minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery approaches
  • Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who specialize in cancer care
  • Pathologists specializing in gynecologic cancers who provide a precise diagnosis of your cancer
  • Radiologists specializing in gynecologic malignancies that help guide the selection of appropriate imaging tests and provide accurate interpretation
  • Oncology psychiatrists and social workers experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer experience
  • A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment
  • Palliative care providers to improve quality of life

Michael Birrer, MD

Michael J. Birrer, MD, PhD
Program Director, Gynecologic Oncology Program

Don S. Dizon, MD

Don S. Dizon, MD
Co-Clinical Director, Gynecologic Oncology Program

Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPHMarcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH
Co-Clinical Director, Gynecologic Oncology Program

See the complete team list treating Endometrial Cancer

Patient Education

Information about Endometrial Cancer

Cancer that begins in the tissues lining the uterus is called endometrial cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that 54,870 new cases of cancers of the uterus would be diagnosed in the United States in 2015, and that these diseases would cause about 10,170 deaths.

Endometrial Cancer Diagnosis

A diagnosis of endometrial cancer may be made through tests and procedures including:

  • Medical history and physical examination
  • Pap test (Pap smear)
  • Internal pelvic exam
  • Endometrial biopsy
  • Dilation and curettage (D&C)
  • Transvaginal ultrasound (ultrasonography)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan

Endometrial Cancer Treatment

Surgery is the first treatment option for most women with endometrial cancer. Types of surgery include:

  • Total hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus, including the cervix
  • Radical hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus, including the cervix, and part of the vagina
  • Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: Removal of an ovary and fallopian tube (called bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy if both ovaries and both fallopian tubes are removed)
  • Pelvic lymph node dissection: Removal and dissection of lymph nodes to identify the microscopic spread of cancer
  • Laparoscopic lymph node sampling: Removal of lymph nodes via a narrow viewing tube called a laparoscope

Some women who have had surgery for endometrial cancer may need additional therapy, such as:

  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill or shrink tumors while sparing healthy tissue
  • Chemotherapy kills cancer cells through the use of intravenous (IV) or oral drugs
  • Hormone therapy blocks the action of or stops the body from producing certain hormones that can cause cancer cells to grow
  • Biologic therapy uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer
  • Clinical trials may provide access to new and promising therapies for endometrial cancer

Learn more about endometrial cancer on our patient education page.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies of new drugs, new combinations of drugs or already approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new/different ways. They may include new drug doses or new ways (schedules) to give the drugs. Clinical trials are run under strict guidelines. Their purpose is to help find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard (current) treatment. At Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, there are several clinical trials open for the treatment of breast cancer that use the latest in cancer treatments.

Cancer is increasingly becoming a disease in which the genetic make-up of each individual cancer drives therapy. The Center for Gynecologic Oncology also has access to clinical trials involving these targeted therapy approaches.

Find listings of our current Clinical Trials for Endometrial Cancer.

Find listings for our current Targeted Therapy Trials for Endometrial Cancer.

The Cancer Center also offers the Lazarex-MGH Cancer Care Equity Program, which strives to promote awareness about and access to cancer clinical trials through community outreach and education, financial assistance, and patient navigation. Click here to find out more about this program.


If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our doctors, please call the Center for Gynecologic Oncology at (617) 724-4800.

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