Cervical Cancer – What Are the Treatment Options?
For many people the very word “cancer” conjures up images of an incurable disease. Typically a disease that is quite often life-threatening. Cervical cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in the year 2004, 1,892 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3,850 women died from the disease. Because cervical cancer is slow-growing most women do not notice any symptoms and the disease may significantly progress and be less treatable by the time it is diagnosed. It is extremely important to get regular gynecological checkups including Pap smears which can often catch the disease in its early and more treatable stages.
Pap smears are able to detect minor abnormalities in cervical cells. Causes of cervical cancer are manifold but the majority of cases are caused by HPV, or the human papilloma virus, which is spread through unprotected sexual contact. In more advanced cases of cervical cancer a woman may experience symptoms such as unexplained bleeding and pelvic pain. It is important for women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer to know that there are many treatment options available and to discuss these various options with their doctors and medical team. Some of the more commonly recommended treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other medications.
Surgical intervention for the condition can range from minimally invasive for early stage cancer to a much more radical surgery for advanced conditions. In the beginning stages of cervical cancer it may be an option to excise a small part of the cervix to prevent the spread of the disease, whereas if the disease has already progressed significantly, it may be necessary to perform a total hysterectomy. Total hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Cryosurgery, a relatively new development, may also be employed. In this procedure affected tissue is frozen and consequently destroyed with the use of a freezing instrument. Radiation therapy may also be used either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments and works by using radiation to destroy the cancerous cells.
Radiation may be given through needles, IVs, implanted devices or x-rays, depending upon the stage, location and seriousness of the cancer. Similar to radiation therapy is the use of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy utilizes medications to kill cancerous cells and/or stop them from dividing and spreading throughout the body. Chemotherapy can be taken as an oral medication in some cases or may be injected into the veins. Of course all of these treatments can carry with them unpleasant side effects. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can destroy healthy cells in addition to the targeted cancer cells, and also suppress immune system function.
Thus, people who are on chemotherapy or radiation therapy are more susceptible to infection and often experience fatigue and anemia as a side effect of the treatment. Surgery carries with it risks intrinsic to the use of anesthesia and possibility of infection. There are a number of investigative treatments, currently in clinical trials, that may soon change the face of cancer treatment. It is vital that a patient discuss with her doctor the various treatment options and weigh the potential risks and benefits of each, before initiating treatment.
Laura Guthrie is a former cancer patient who successfully recovered. She now shares her best of the best information to give back.
She’s put together a website simply to give back to people just like you with tons of free information, you can get free instant access at [http://www.savemefromcancer.com]
We hope you got lots of value from this article, good luck in your journey.