Cervical cancer can be easily diagnosed if a woman keeps track of the changes in her reproductive system and goes for regular pelvic examination and Pap smear tests. One of the most easily treatable cancers with a very impressive survival rate, most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer is saved with proper treatment.
Pre cancerous lesions can always be detected through Pap tests and treated effectively before it turns cancerous and also to prevent future cases of cervical cancer. Cervical dysplasia or pre cancerous lesions can be low grade or high grade. In low grade dysplasia, cells are not yet abnormal whereas in high grade dysplasia, the cells are already abnormal but have not spread outside the cervix.
Treatment Methods For Pre Cancerous Lesions
For mild dysplasia, your doctor may suggest a wait and watch approach as sometimes the immune system would be able to fight the disease off. The wait and watch approach can be anywhere between 3 to 6 months after which another Pap smear test can be done.
For dysplasia that can be moderate to severe, there are many treatment options like a cone biopsy, laser treatment, cryosurgery etc. These treatment methods are successful in most cases though some women still get cervical cancer at a later stage even after early discovery and treatment. A possible side effect of these treatment methods is excessive vaginal discharge and bleeding.
The freezing technique involves using a probe that has been made cold by liquid nitrogen and inserting it into the cervix through the vaginal opening for killing the cancerous lesions. This is a targeted treatment and hence very little damage is done to the nearby healthy tissues. It will also help retain the fertility of the woman in most cases.
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Laser treatment involves the use of laser beams which help in destroying the cancer cells through burning. This too is a targeted treatment which helps in targeting only the cancer cells by focusing the beams only on the abnormal cells, and saving the surrounding tissues and organs. Laser treatment too can preserve the fertility of a woman.
Cone biopsy or conisation is done during the early stages of cancer. Here a metal wire through which electricity is passed through is used for removing a cone shaped tissue from the cervix. Testing of this tissue can help the doctor judge the extent of spread and whether further surgery or treatment is required for the patient.
All these procedures are done under local or general anaesthesia. Though comparatively safe and good for treating early stages and preventing sterility from setting in, these treatment methods have their own risk factors. There could be adverse reactions to the anaesthetics used and chances of infection.
Excessive vaginal discharge and pain too are side effects associated with it. Though these are mostly temporary, may women are completely cured with these treatment methods without having to go through rigorous procedures like a chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Ensure that a Pap smear is done annually after these treatments so that any recurrence can be caught early and treated effectively.