Cervical cancer is a cancer that affects the cervix of a woman, rendering her incapable of reproduction if caught in the later stages. The good news is that most cases of cervical cancer can be treated entirely with the new medical advances and most women are able to retain their fertility after the surgery.
However, all women may not be lucky enough to be entirely without side effects. Some women could fall for the ill effects of rigorous treatment methods. Let’s take a look at the risks associated with cervical cancer treatment.
Treatment Options For Cervical Cancer
Based on the extent of the cancer, treatment options are varied and with different risk factors associated with them. The common treatment methods are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy etc. for later stages, and conization, laser treatment, cryosurgery etc. for the early stages of cancer.
Risks Associated It Surgery
Every surgical intervention carries a number of risks. Reaction to anaesthetics, infection at the site of incision, excessive bleeding and damage to the surrounding organs etc. are some risks associated with surgery for cervical cancer. If it is hysterectomy, then the women can no longer conceive as the womb is removed completely.
Risks Associated With Radiation Treatment
Radiation treatment carries the risk of damaging the surrounding organs and also destroying the healthy cells along with the cancerous cells. A woman’s ovaries can be damaged due to radiation exposure, rendering her sterile for the rest of her life. There is also the risk of skin irritation and burning, low blood count, scar formation, weakening of bones and dryness in the vagina. Some women may also experience nausea and vomiting due to the radiation exposure. There can be narrowing of the vaginal area and shrinking of the vagina after the treatment.
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Risks Associated With Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the use of strong drugs for killing the cancerous tissues. It is given as pills or intravenously. The ill effects of chemotherapy are hair fall, nausea and vomiting, extreme tiredness, low blood count, low immunity and risk of infection, diarrhoea and premature menopause in younger women.
Risks Associated With Early Stage Treatment Methods
Treatment methods during the early stages have much less risk factors associated with it. The most common side effect is excessive vaginal bleeding and vaginal discharge. While laser treatment and cryosurgery have much less risks, some women might show an adverse effect to local anaesthesia and the cancer can also recur in certain cases after these early stage treatments.
Conisation is the removal of a cone shaped tissue from the vagina for testing and also as a treatment for early stage cervical cancer.After conisation, the fertility of the women is not affected. However, the process is known to weaken the cervix, making it risky for the woman during pregnancy. Women have to be under constant monitoring of the doctor to avoid miscarriage and pre term deliveries due to the weakened stage of the cervix after conisation.
The Best Treatment Option For You
The best treatment for you would be decided by the doctor after assessing the level of cancer and also many other factors like your age and health. Most women in the early stages are not given a chemotherapy or radiation treatment to keep their fertility intact.