Cervical Cancer and Conception
It’s that dreaded time of the year again, where you have to go and lie flat on your back, legs in the air, while the doctor goes around his business to ensure that your ‘womanly bits’ are healthy, and you are able to conceive a baby. You are there for your annual pap smear and now it’s a waiting game as you anticipate the results.
The butterflies in your stomach are a yearly experience as you wait for these results. You have been going for this test for years but the nerves never seem to go away. However, this time it’s different, the diagnosis reads: cervical cancer.
This is terrible news for any woman. The term cancer keeps drumming around in your head, you can’t move from fear; fear for your health and fear for your future: “How can I have cancer”?
What is Cervical Cancer?
All types of cancer are serious and should be seen to as soon as possible. Cervical cancer is found in the cervix which is also known as the neck of the womb. This type of cancer is found in squamous cell carcinomas. These are flat, thin cells that form on the epithelial surface of the cervix. These cells resemble paving stones.
What Causes Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is mainly caused due to the Human papillomavirus infection. The virus triggers changes within the cells of the uterus. This is however not the only cause of this cancer, there are other contributing factors, these include:
Family history of cervical cancer
Having had sex at an early age
Multiple sexual partners
Intercourse without using a condom
Can I Still Have a Baby?
The chances of conceiving after you have had cervical cancer, depends entirely on what treatment you have received and what stage your cancer is in. The most common method used to get rid of cervical cancer is that of hysterectomy, but if you plan to have a baby at a later stage you should let your doctor know and perhaps discuss other possible options. Most forms of treatment require you to have surgery, but if cancer has not yet developed, there are other ways to combat the abnormal cells. It is important to note that abnormal cells are very likely to become cancerous.
According to Pregnancy-Info these are the possible treatments for abnormal cells as well as cancerous cells. Most of these treatments will not affect your fertility.
This process cuts out the abnormal and potentially dangerous cells.
Uses an electric current that passes through metal rods which then burn and destroy these cells.
This treatment uses chemical like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide to freeze the abnormal cells.
The laser is used to burn away the abnormal cells.
This process involves removing only the cervix.
This treatment is used when a cone-shaped area of the affected cells are removed. This treatment also allows for the cells to be sent for a biopsy.
As previously mentioned, a hysterectomy is the most common way of getting rid of cervical cancer. It involves the complete removal of the cervix and the uterus. This treatment is recommended if and when there is a recurring result of abnormal cells or cancerous cells are present. If cancer cells are found, this means that it will need to be more of an extensive operation. It includes removing the cervix, uterus, all the tissue around these organs as well as the top of the vagina and the lymph glands. In more severe cases, you may need to remove the bowel, rectum and bladder.
This therapy kills and shrinks the cancerous cells by using radioactive material.
This is a medicine that is used to kill off the cancer cells. It can be administered by taking pills or injections.
If you are pregnant and only find out later that you have cervical cancer it is still safe to continue your pregnancy. You are however advised to have a caesarean once the baby is capable of surviving outside the womb. This is usually followed by a hysterectomy and should be seen to immediately.
What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
In most cases abnormal cells, don’t offer any side effects. However, once the abnormal cells turn cancerous, you may experience some of these symptoms.
Pain and difficulty when urinating
Unpleasant discharge odour
Pain during sex
How Can I Prevent Cervical Cancer?
Using a condom and visiting your doctor for regular check ups and pap smears will help ensure that you don’t get cervical cancer and that you catch it before it becomes dangerous. You should limit your number of sexual partners and be sure to get a clear understanding of the number of partners your partner has had. Using a condom will also help prevent cervical cancer. You are also advised to stop smoking. Receiving the vaccination against the Human papillomavirus virus (HPV) will also help ensure that you don’t develop cervical cancer.