Cervical Cancer - Treatment
Don’t wait. A diagnosis of cervical cancer may feel devastating, but there’s plenty of hope. By responding quickly, you can be your own best ally in defeating cancer.
Fortunately, cervical cancer is often very treatable. The most important thing you can do to help yourself after a diagnosis of cervical cancer is to consult a gynecologic oncologist.
A gynecologic oncologist is a physician who specializes in treating cancers associated with women’s reproductive organs. They understand the most effective forms of treatment and, because of this, have the highest cure rates for these types of cancers
You can find a gynecologic oncologist in your area by consulting the.
A diagnosis of cervical cancer is frightening, but by asking good questions and taking an active role in your treatment, you can gain more confidence. If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, here are some questions we recommend asking:
-Is there a suggested diet I should follow?
-Will this hurt my chances of having children?
-How often will I need a follow up visits?
-What are my options, and what are your recommendations?
-What stage is my cancer in?
-Am I at risk for a recurrence?
-What are the possible side effects of my treatment?
There are many reasonable plans for fighting cervical cancer. Your gynecologic oncologist will help determine the right plan for you. The most common treatments include:
-Early Stage Surgery Treatment (removal of abnormal cells) - In the early stages of cervical cancer, there are several methods that are used to remove abnormal cells from the cervix. Both conization? and LEEP? biopsies can be used to actually treat the cancer by removing select tissue from the cervix. In addition, through laser surgery, a small laser beam is used to burn off abnormal cells. And in cryosurgery, a doctor can freeze off the abnormal cells with nitrous oxide.
-Later Stage Surgery Treatment (hysterectomy) - The most prevalent surgical treatment used to combat later stage cervical cancer is a hysterectomy, which is the removal of the uterus and the cervix.
A radical hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus, cervix, the upper portion of the vagina, and nearby effected lymph nodes, may be required depending on how far the cancer has spread. A hysterectomy can be achieved by an incision in the abdomen, in the vagina, or by a minimally invasive robotic surgery called a laparoscopic hysterectomy.
-Radiation Treatment - High-energy x-rays or other radiation is used to shrink tumors or kill cancer cells. After surgery, radiation treatment is used to combat cancer cells that have spread and were not fully controlled by a hysterectomy.
-Vaginal Brachytherapy - This common internal radiation treatment for cervical cancer utilizes a cylinder containing radiation that is inserted into the upper portion of the vagina.
-Chemotherapy - When cancer has spread beyond the uterus chemotherapy is helpful. This drug treatment, usually taken by mouth, put directly into a blood vein by IV, or inserted into the body by a tube, attempts to kill the cancer cells or stop them from dividing. Cysplatin is a chemotherapy drug often used in conjunction with radiation therapy in cervical cancer cases.
It is important to know that some treatments have side effects that are somewhat minor, while other side effect could be more severe. But your treatments are crucial in the battle against cervical cancer. No one looks forward to dealing with these side effects, but if you know what to expect, perhaps it will be a little easier for you.
Make sure to talk to your gynecologic oncologist about possible side effects. Be sure to ask questions, because surgery for the prevention or treatment of cervical cancer can cause the following changes:
-Repeated cervical biopsy or conization can result in a weak cervix, thus complicating pregnancy
-The removal of tissue from the cervix can cause cramping and bleeding
-The removal of the uterus will cause a loss of fertility
-If not already at menopause, after a hysterectomy, menopause will be reached
Radiation therapy is administered by machines outside the body, or internally, with a vaginal tube. The following are general side effects that often are associated with radiation therapy:
-Treated skin will appear red or irritated
-Fatigue or tiredness
Normally, most side effects from chemotherapy are temporary. People have varied reactions, but once the therapy is complete, those side effects usually disappear. Any hair loss normally grows back, although at times with a different texture. Below are some common side effects of chemotherapy:
-Nausea and vomiting
-Mouth and vaginal soreness
-Increased chance of infection
-Difficult to stop bleeding
-Fatigue/tirednessLast Updated on Friday, 02 March 2012 11:35