The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that leads to the vagina or birth canal. Like many organs in the body, the cervix can develop cancer. Cervical cancer usually develops very slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, dysphasia happens. Dysphasia is where the cells of the cervix go through changes and the cells that are not normal appear in the cervical tissue. When this happens, cancer starts to spread around the cervix and to other surrounding areas. Since the cervix is an important organ in the female body, it is important for us to know what are the options available on cervical cancer treatment.
Cervical cancer is often treated by a hysterectomy where the entire uterus and part of the vagina is removed surgically. If the cancer in the cervix is at an advanced stages, lymph nodes may also need to be removed. However, since many patients want to remain fertile, other more gentle cervical cancer treatment methods need to be considered. One of such gentle treatment is the loop electrosurgical excision procedure or LEEP.
There are many advantages to a LEEP, which include low cost, a high success rate, ease of use and often only requires the use of a local anesthetic. Another such surgical procedure is the cone biopsy. In a cone biopsy, only a cone shapes sample is removed from the mucous membrane. Radiation therapy is given as external beam radiotherapy to the pelvis and internally as brachytherapy. However if the cone biopsy does not produce much positive results, there is another procedure called a trachelectomy. With a trachelectomy, the doctors will try to remove only the cancer while keeping the uterus and ovaries intact. This treatment option is particularly ideal in condition whereby the cervical cancer has not spread to other areas inside the uterus. The limitation with this treatment method is that there are only a few specialists available who are qualified and skilled enough to perform this delicate procedure. Radiation therapy is another treatment option. Radiation therapy is administered as external beam radiotherapy to the pelvis and internally as brachytherapy. However, when dealing with cervical cancer, the biggest issue besides survival is the ability to have children in the future.
It is important to explore all the treatment options available for cervical cancer and to discuss with your doctor, friends, family and husband on the best cancer treatment for you. Do get a second expert’s opinion before proceeding with any cervical cancer treatment involving surgery.