Cervical Cancer Treatment
Cervical cancer is cancer that begins in the cervix, the part of the uterus or womb that opens into the vagina.
- It is the portion of the uterus that dilates and opens fully to allow a baby to pass into the birth canal.
- The common cervix has two main kinds of cells: squamous or flat cells, which protect the outside of the cervix, and glandular cells, which are mostly inside the cervix, that make the fluid and mucus usually observed during ovulation.
- Cervical canceris caused by unusual changes in either of these cell types in the cervix and is the only gynecologic cancer that can be prevented by regular screening and preventive vaccination. Cervical cancer usually affects women between the ages of 30 and 55.
Cervical cancer and cervical pre-cancers normally have no signs. That is why it is important to have a Pap test. to have a Pap test. A woman normally does not have any signs until the cells turn into cancer and invade the deepest parts of the cervix or other pelvic organs.
These are normal symptoms in women who have developed cervical cancer.
- Vaginal discharge
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal odor
These symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other health problems. A woman needs to see her doctor if she is having any of these symptoms.
Treatment normally depends on the clinical/radiological stage of the tumor. Surgery is the most common treatment for early cervical cancer, although radiation can also be used. The final choice for you will depend on several factors, especially the stage and size of your cancer as well as your general health.
Radical abdominal hysterectomy: This method may be performed through an abdominal incision or Laparoscopically.The word radical means that the uterus and the tissue between the uterus and pelvic wall, as well as part of the upper vagina, are eliminated. Lymph nodes in the pelvis are also removed and examined to determine if cancer has spread (radical pelvic lymphadenectomy). In any case, both ovaries and both fallopian tubes must be eliminated. This procedure is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
Side effects of surgery
Some pain and discomfort are common after surgery. Pain can be controlled with medicine. Tell your treatment team if you are experiencing more than mild pain.
Another immediate side effects (days to weeks after surgery):
- Discomfort related to tubes, catheters, and medical devices
- Trouble urinating so that that a catheter that may stay in your bladder for a few days to weeks is often necessary
- Soreness of the abdomen around the incision
- Cramps and gas pains
- Watery vaginal discharge or bleeding
Later side effects (weeks to months):
- Difficulty urinating
- Shortening of the vagina
Some things may be done at the time of your operation to minimize these side effects (such as placement of a temporary drainage catheter in your bladder). Women who have a hysterectomy will stop having periods and will no longer be able to have children. Hormone levels will be equal if the ovaries are left in, or may fall to menopausal levels if the ovaries are removed.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing. Radiation therapy can be an effective method for initial-stage cervical cancers. However, in early cervical cancer, it is more commonly used as an extra treatment after surgery for patients at the highest risk for recurrence of their cancer (such as when the tumor might have grown beyond the cervix). Radiation is also used to treat larger or higher stage cancers where it works better than surgery. Your individual need for radiation therapy will be determined using information from your staging tests, examinations, and surgery if an operation was performed from findings at the time of your evaluation.
Two types of radiation treatment are applied to treat cervical cancer.
External radiation therapy uses a device that directs the radiation toward a specific area of the body. The treatment is usually given daily, Monday through Friday, for about six weeks. Radiation does not trouble during the treatment and only takes a few minutes each day. and typically you return home each day after treatment.
Internal radiation therapy (also called brachytherapy) involves placing a small tablet of radioactive material inside the vagina or near the cervix. This method can sometimes be conducted on an outpatient basis, and other times it requires hospitalization for a night or two.
Side effects of radiation
The side effects of radiation treatment depend on the dose used and the part of the body that is being treated. Normal side effects for cervix cancer patients are listed below.
Early side effects (occur during treatment):
- Dry, reddened skin in the treated area
- Diarrhea and nausea
- Discomfort when urinating
Most of these side effects are temporary. Not everybody experiences all of these side effects. Be sure to discuss with your treatment team members about any side effects you feel.
Later side effects from radiation therapy include:
- Narrowing of the vagina and loss of lubrication
- Urinary frequency (radiation cystitis)
- Diarrhea (radiation colitis)
- Unexpected or sudden menopause (if the ovaries stop working)
- Skin thickening and irritation
Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to eliminate cancer cells. Chemotherapy for cervical cancer is normally given intravenously (injected into a vein). You may be handled in the doctor’s office or the outpatient part of a hospital. Periods of chemotherapy treatment are alternated with rest periods when no chemotherapy is given.
Side effects of chemotherapy:
Each person responds to chemotherapy differently. Some people may have very few side effects while others feel several. Most side effects are temporary. They include:
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Increased chance of infection
- Bleeding or bruising easily
- Mild hair loss