Cervical Cancer Treatments
The cervix is part of the woman’s reproductive system whose job is to keep the baby inside the uterus during pregnancy, which then at the time of giving birth opens to allow the baby to pass through to the vagina. However, like most of the bodies organs, the cervix is prone to getting cancer. Cancer of the cervix is slow-growing, although it is easily detected by regular smear exams (recommended to be taken once a year), know as PAP smears.
Most cases of cervical cancer result from catching the sexually transmitted disease papillomavirus (HPV), although due to new vaccines designed to prevent HPV infections, can now can be prevented. However, if cervical cancer is diagnosed, there are various treatment options available depending on how advanced it is.
Radiation Therapy – Used on early stage cervical cancer when it is found that the cancer has not metastasized (spread) to another part of the body. Radiation therapy works by using high energy to either kill or slow the growth of cancerous cells, it may also be used after surgery has taken place to kill any remaining cancerous cells that may have been left behind in the surrounding area.
Chemotherapy – Used when the cancer has spread beyond the cervix, and is often accompanied with the use of radiation therapy.
Surgery – Used when the cancer has reached either Stage I or Stage II of its cycle there are three surgical options available for the sufferer.
1. Radical Trachelectomy – Used to remove the cervix, part of the vagina, and the surrounding lymph nodes.
2. Total Hysterectomy – Used to remove the cervix and the uterus.
3. Radical Hysterectomy – This is the most serious of operations for cervical cancer where the cervix, the uterus, and part of the vagina are all removed. There is also the possibility of the fallopian tubes and ovaries being removed depending on the metastasis of the cancer.
Depending on the staging of cervical cancer when it was diagnosed has a large bearing on the prognosis (life expectancy) of the sufferer. The earlier the stage, the better chance of survival a patient may have, with nine in every ten women being diagnosed at early stage having a 90% chance of survival and still being alive 5-years later.
However, this drops dramatically with a later stage diagnosis when the cancer has a regional (nearby) metastasis. If the cancer has metastasized to a distant area, the survival rate drops even further to under 20%.