Options for Cervical Cancer Treatment
The most significant progress that we have made in containing cervical cancer pandemic is through early detection. Cancer of the cervix is diagnosed through a cervical cancer screening process. It can be done in two ways: papanicolaou test (or pap smear) and high-risk HPV testing.
If cervical cancer is detected early, it usually is treatable. Cervical cancer treatments highly depend on the stage of cancer and how much it has spread to other body parts. Let us dig into the details pertaining to treatment options for cervical cancer:
Surgical intervention is known to be one of the most common cervical cancer treatments. The type of surgical procedure you will have depends on how huge the cancerous tumors have grown and how far spread its gone. Your doctor may advise on starting with radiation or chemotherapy to reduce the tumor into a size that will quickly be removed through surgery. Conization, for example, removes small cervical cancers. After the surgical procedure, one can still conceive and have children.
A hysterectomy is yet another surgical intervention that removes the uterus and cervix entirely. It is preferred for containable cancer that hasn’t spread beyond the cervix. Pelvic exenteration, on the other hand, is set aside for patients whose cervical cancer recurs and spreads beyond the cervix. To salvage the patient’s life, an oncologist will remove the entire reproductive system and other adjacent organs such as the bladder that might have already been affected by cancer.
Radiation therapy makes use of high energy waves to destroy cancer cells eventually stopping them from growing. The radiation treatment for cervical cancer is offered in two ways; brachytherapy and external beam radiation. The latter requires a patient to go radiation being emitted from a machine. Brachytherapy entails on placing a small device that emits radiation, near the cervix. Both therapies are effective when coupled with other treatments.
Chemotherapy involves inducing the cervical cancer patient with strong medication that targets the cancer cells. For cervical cancer, intravenous infusion is usually preferred. If cervical cancer is found to have spread further into other organs, chemotherapy and radiation are often used to contain the symptoms and growth.
5. Targeted therapy
This treatment spares healthy cells and targets the cancer cells eventually killing them off. These targeted medications work by essentially blocking the growth of new blood vessels. Tumors grow from new blood vessels that keep them nourished. The treatment can be used to treat advanced cervical cancer where the tumors will be deprived off nourishment hence reducing in size and eventually destroying them. It is coupled with chemotherapy until the tumor stops growing.
Immunotherapy entails of inducing the body with drugs that can stimulate or strengthen a patient’s immune system. An enhanced immune system helps the body destroy the cancer cells naturally. It usually is used on cancer that has spread beyond the cervix or on reoccurring cancer.
7. HPV vaccine
They say preventive measures are better than cures. The HPV vaccine is a precautionary measure that was invented to help women protect themselves from contracting the HPV virus. The HPV vaccine is administered after cervical cancer screening to ensure that you are free of the virus. With more advancements, we expect to tackle the cervical cancer epidemic effectively.