Cervical Cancer – Treatment of Cervical Cancer
Cervical Cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects women’s cervix which is part of the female reproductive system, that connects the upper vagina to the uterus. During child birth, the cervix plays a vital role by dilating to allow the passage of the baby from the uterus to the vagina. The main cause for this type of cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is spread through sexual contact and could develop into cancer if left untreated. This cancer occurs in women above the age of 30 years.
Treatment of Cervical Cancer
There are two types of interventions for cervical cancer depending upon the type of cancer. They include:
- Noninvasive Cancer
- Invasive Cancer
This type of cancer is when the outside layer of the cervix is affected and the abnormal cells are removed following the below procedures.They include:
- Cone Biopsy (Conization): During this procedure, a doctor uses a scalpel to remove the cervical tissue in a cone shape where the abnormal cells grow.
- Laser surgery: In this procedure, a doctor may use a narrow beam of intense light to kill the cancerous and precancerous cells.
- Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): In this method, the surgeon may pass a wire like loop which emits electrical current. This current cuts and removes the abnormal cells from the mouth of the cervix like a surgeon’s knife.
- Hysterectomy: This surgery is the removal of the cancerous and precancerous cells along with the cervix and uterus. This procedure is done in certain cases of noninvasive cancer.
- Cryosurgery: In this technique, a doctor freezes and kills the cancerous and precancerous cells present in the cervix.
This type of cancer invades deeper than the outside layer of cells on the cervix and may need more extensive treatment. The treatment for invasive cervical cancer depends on the stage of cancer, other health problems and the preferences of a patient about the treatment. The various interventions include:
- Radiation Therapy: In this therapy, high power energy is used to kill the cancerous cells. This can be given externally by using external beam of radiations or internally by placing small devices that have radioactive material, near the cervix. Side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, vaginal narrowing and bladder irritation. Premenopausal women may begin menopause early as a result of this therapy.
- Chemotherapy: In this type of intervention, strong anti-cancer medications may be given to kill cancer cells. These drugs are injected into the vein and they travel throughout the body killing those cells that grow very fast. Side effects include fatigue, diarrhea, hair loss and nausea. Certain drugs may cause early menopause and infertility in some women.