Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix, most prevalent these days in women above the age of 30. Cervical cancer can be successfully cured through proper treatment which depends on factors like the type and stage of cancer as well as the age and overall health of the cervical cancer patient.
While standard treatments are available in the medical world, improvisations are still being done in clinical trials. Here is a brief description of some of the best treatment options for cervical cancer:
Treatment Options For Cervical Cancer
Removal Of Abnormal Cells
If the screening test you undergo to diagnose cancer does not show evidences of cervical cancer, but there are biological changes having potential of turning cancerous in future, then the abnormal cells are removed at this stage 0 using a variety of techniques. A laser beam could be employed to burn away abnormal cells or small parts of tissues to treat non invasive stage 0 cancers.
Alternatively, Cryotherapy may be involved where a cold probe is introduced to freeze the abnormal cells. Or else, a hot probe may also be used in order to destruct such cells, this treatment being called cold coagulation. Conization or cone biopsy is another treatment option to surgically remove the abnormal portions of tissue from the cervix.
There are three types of surgeries carried out depending upon the extent of spread of the cancer – radial trachelectomy, hysterectomy and pelvic exenteration. In radial trachelectomy, the cervix and upper vagina are removed and not the uterus. This is particularly done by an operation through vagina or abdomen to treat young women having early stage 1 cancer without affecting their ability to conceive and get pregnant.
In simple hysterectomy the cervix and the uterus are removed with the vagina intact. This is done through incision in belly or through vagina. In some cases, depending upon the stage of cancer even the ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed. In radial hysterectomy, however, the upper part of vagina and tissues surrounding uterus are also removed.
The women after undergoing hysterectomy cannot get pregnant. In this surgery, in addition to organs removed in radial hysterectomy, the rectum, urinary bladder and part of colon is also removed. To compensate, a piece of intestine is used to make a new bladder to pass urine, whereas colostomy is employed for passing stools.
Radiotherapy is used along with surgery and chemotherapy in stage 2, 3 and early stage 4. Radiotherapy is of two types- external and internal. In external radiotherapy, high energy x-ray beams are directed onto the pelvis to kill cancerous cells.
In internal radiotherapy, a radioactive implant treats the cancerous cells when placed inside the vagina. This 5-8 week treatment may involve both types of radiotherapy simultaneously and has negligible side effects compared to surgery.
Chemotherapy is a technique of giving medications, usually cisplatin through an intravenous drip. It is usually carried out in stages 3 and 4. This is employed in higher stages to kill cancerous cells or to slow down progression of cancer if cure is unlikely. This may have side effects like feeling sick and tired as well as loss of hair and appetite.
Once the treatment has been done, one must still keep consulting the doctor for side effects as almost all cancer treatments do have side effects. Also, follow up appointments should be made to avoid any potential threats in future.
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