Cervical Cancer

The importance of cervical screening and educating women and girls about spotting the symptoms of Cervical Cancer has never been so great. Read about the various symptoms here as well as information regarding latest Cervical Cancer research, the treatments and survival stories.

Cervical Cancer Treament Types

Cervical cancer detected in its early stages can be cured with treatment and close follow-up. Treatment choices for cervical cancer may include one or more of the following therapies:

Initial treatment

The choice of treatment and the long-term outcome (prognosis) of cervical cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer. The patient's age, overall health, quality of life, and desire to be able to have children must also be considered. Treatment choices for cervical cancer may be a single therapy or a combination of therapies, such as:

Surgery to remove the uterus and cervix (hysterectomy) may be done through an incision in the belly. For early-stage cervical cancer, laparoscopic surgery may be possible. This is done with several small incisions in the belly for a tiny camera and special instruments. During a hysterectomy, the surgeon may also remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Chemotherapy may be given at the same time as radiation therapy (chemoradiation). Compared with radiation alone, chemoradiation improves survival. It is usually used as the primary therapy or after a hysterectomy.

Most treatments for cervical cancer cause side effects which may include

Treatment for pregnant women

Recommended treatments are the same for pregnant women as for non-pregnant women. Treatment for early-stage cervical cancer may be delayed until after delivery if the pregnancy is in the third trimester. A vaginal delivery may be possible.

For all stages of cervical cancer, treatment will be managed by a team of physicians specializing in cancer and high-risk pregnancies. Treatment for cervical cancer may cause problems such as an early delivery or even the loss of the baby. Treatment will consider the recommendations for the specific stage of cancer, the development of the baby, and the mother's preferences.

On-going treatment

After initial treatment for cervical cancer, it is important to receive follow-up care. The oncologist or gynaecologic oncologist should schedule regular check-ups that will include:

Follow-up tests that may be recommended include an abdominal and pelvic computed tomography (CT) scan to monitor whether cancer has spread to other organs in the abdomen or pelvis. If respiratory symptoms are present, a chest X-ray may be done to determine whether cancer has spread to the lungs.

Treatment if the condition gets worse

Cervical cancer can return after treatment. About 35% of women with cervical cancer will have persistent or recurrent disease. The chance that the cancer will return depends on the stage of the initial cancer: cancer found early is less likely to come back than cancer found at a later stage. Thus, the prognosis for recurrent cervical cancer depends greatly on how much the cancer has spread when the recurrence is diagnosed.

The goal of treatment of advanced-stage cervical cancer that has spread outside the pelvis is to control symptoms, reduce complications, and increase comfort (palliative care). It is not intended to cure the disease. Palliative care may include: