Having been through it, I can certainly answer this! In early stages, surgery to remove the cancer plus some marginal tissue is necessary, but this preserves your uterus. If the cancer is bigger than 2 cm, which is an inch, a hysterectomy will be necessary. If it's even bigger or has invaded lymph nodes or other surrounding tissue, you may need surgery plus radiation and maybe even chemotherapy. It will depend on the tumor type, size and where it has spread to.
A Answers (6)
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
The treatment options for cervical cancer are radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or a combination of the three. How much treatment is warranted depends on the extent of the cervical cancer. In early stages, minor surgery that may not even involve hospitalization could be effective. Use of surgery gets more invasive the more the cancer advances. A hysterectomy may be performed, and more surgery affecting the other reproductive, urological, or gastrointestinal organs could be necessary. Radiation therapy may be used alone, but it has been found to work well in tandem with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. Other chemotherapy is also an option.
- Conization: This simple surgery involves removing a cone-shaped piece of cervical tissue where the abnormality is found.
- Laser surgery: This operation uses a narrow beam of intense light to kill cancerous and precancerous cells.
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): This technique uses a wire loop to pass an electrical current that removes cells from the mouth of the cervix.
- Cryosurgery: This technique involves freezing and killing cancerous and precancerous cells.
- Hysterectomy: Surgery is usually recommended for younger women because it may preserve one or both ovaries as well as their estrogen production, involved in maintaining bone strength. A simple hysterectomy is typically an option when there is an invasion of less than three millimeters (mm) into the cervix. A radical hysterectomy, or removal of the cervix, uterus, part of the vagina and lymph nodes in the area, is the standard surgical treatment when there's an invasion of greater than three mm into the cervix, but no evidence of a tumor in the wall of the pelvis.
- Radiation: Radiation involves high-energy rays that shrink tumors and kill cancer cells by destroying their ability to reproduce. Premenopausal women will experience menopause because their ovarian functions are destroyed by the radiation. Side effects may include fatigue, swelling, nausea/vomiting, hair loss, and skin reddening.
- Chemotherapy: One of the most active chemotherapeutic agents for cervical cancer is cisplatin, which enhances the effectiveness of radiation in the treatment of patients with more advanced disease. Chemotherapy is given to women with bulky tumors in the cervix or in the cervix and upper part of the vagina. The combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is more effective than radiation alone. The same holds true for women whose cancer has spread throughout the pelvic area or to organs such as the bladder and rectum, which are close to the cervix.
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Donna Hill Howes, RN, Administrator, answered
Women with cervical cancer have many treatment options. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of methods.
Surgery is an option for women with Stage I or II cervical cancer. The surgeon removes tissue that may contain cancer cells.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is an option for women with any stage of cervical cancer. Women with early stage cervical cancer may choose radiation therapy instead of surgery. It also may be used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the area. Women with cancer that extends beyond the cervix may have radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Barbara Goff, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answered
Cervical cancer is usually treated with primary surgery when it is in its early stages and with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy in advanced stages. For early stage disease some women can be treated with a simple cone biopsy, which allows women to preserve fertility.
Another fertility sparing option is a radical trachelectomy, which removes the cervix but preserves the uterus and ovaries so women can still get pregnant. If women do not wish to preserve fertility then usually a hysterectomy or radical hysterectomy is performed along with removal of the lymph nodes in the pelvis. Most surgery for early cervical cancer can be performed robotically, which significantly reduces postoperative pain, blood loss and allows for a much faster recovery. If you need surgery for cervical cancer it is very important to see an expert who performs this surgery all the time. Once the surgery is complete most women will require no additional treatment but a small percentage may need radiation and chemotherapy following the hysterectomy.
For women with advanced stage disease, a pretreatment PET/CT scan is important for identifying any disease that has spread. Then women are treated with primary radiation and a low dose of chemotherapy is given to make the radiation work better.
Jill Grimes, MD, Family Medicine, answered
Multiple treatments exist, and type of treatment depends on staging of the disease. Thanks to pap tests, most cervical cancers are discovered at stage 0 or stage 1 and therefore are easily treated.
- surgery: In stage 0 (very early cancer), surgical treatment can be performed that leaves the uterus intact, allowing the possibility of future childbearing. More advanced stages may require removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
- combination of any of the above methods
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