Advances in Cervical Cancer Treatment
Prior to the Pap smear, developed in the 1950’s, cervical cancer was the major cause of death among women of childbearing age. The introduction of the pap smear decreased cervical cancer over 60%. Today, cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. It ranks 14th most common cancer in women of childbearing age.
Until treatment advances in the 80’s the cone biopsy and hysterectomy were the only ways to treat cervical cancer. A cone biopsy is a surgery used to remove cancerous tissue in the cervix. It may be used for diagnosis or treatment depending on the side of the cancerous area. The surgery is called a cone biopsy because a cone shaped piece of tissue is removed and tested to see how large the cancerous area is.
If a cone biopsy is ineffective at removing all of the cancer cells, a hysterectomy can be preformed. During a hysterectomy, either the uterus or the entire cervix is removed. A hysterectomy involving only the removal of the uterus is called a partial hysterectomy, while the removal of the entire cervix is considered a full hysterectomy.
As scientific knowledge about cervical cancer progressed, new techniques disease progressed as well. Procedures such as cryosurgery, laser surgery and LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure was used for treating cervical lesions. These surgical procedures were developed to treat smaller areas of cancerous tissues in the early stages of cervical cancer.
Cryosurgery is a procedure in which tissue is frozen for removal. Liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide is usually used to freeze and destroy the abnormal tissue. This procedure is also called the cryoablation or cryosurgical ablation, and is the as the common treatment used to freeze off and remove warts.
Laser surgery involves using a powerful laser beam to make incisions and remove surface tissue and cancerous lesions. Laser surgery is beneficial because it makes bloodless cuts, immediately cauterizing the area, making surgical cuts clean and precise.
The LEEP procedure is very similar to laser surgery. It is a technique involving suing a loop shaped electrical wire used to remove abnormal tissue. This form of surgery also cauterizes the tissue, making bloodless cuts.
Cryosurgery, laser surgery and the LEEP procedure are important advancements in the cancer world. These procedures allow for safe and more sterile removal of tissue with limited damage. These procedures also support fast and secure healing which is especially important in that area of the body.
There are a few steps women can take to avoid or decrease their chances of contracting cervical cancer. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a form of the HPV virus. There is now a shot that may help prevent some strains of cervical cancer in young women. Certain birth control supplements can also cause cancer, so it is important to pay attention to side affects when choosing a form of birth control. Smoking and family history can also predispose women to cervical cancer risks. As always, practicing a healthy lifestyle decreases the chances of cancer and other illnesses.
Neville Street is the Administrative Director for Rodriquez MD, a bilingual medical practice in Lawrenceville, GA that provides health care to infants, children, adolescents and adults. Gwinnett doctors Deborah and Veronica Rodriguez are sisters with a combined 27 years of experience. The doctors are Board Certified in Family Medicine and Internal Medicine and both Gwinnett physicians have extensive experience working in private practice.