The womb’s entrance is affected by cervical cancer. If cervical cancer has been diagnosed, your healthcare team will discuss treatment options with you. Your age, general health, and personal preferences will all be considered when you and your cancer care team select your treatment plan. Learn about the procedures used to screen, diagnose, and stage cervical cancer, as well as the available treatments.
Precancerous cells that can one day develop into cervical cancer can be found with the use of screening tests. Most guidelines say that screening for cervical cancer and changes that could lead to cancer should start at age 21, and signs like vaginal bleeding. Screening exams consist of:
- Pap test – Your doctor will remove cells from your cervix during a Pap test, which will then be evaluated in a lab for anomalies. The cervix contains abnormal cells found during a Pap test, including cancerous cells and cells with alterations that raise the risk of cervical cancer.
- HPV DNA test – Cells taken from the cervix are tested for HPV infection using the HPV DNA test to determine which HPV strains are most likely to result in cervical cancer.
Your doctor will thoroughly examine your cervix if cervical cancer is suspected. In order to look for abnormal cells, a colposcope is a specialized magnifying device. During the colposcopic examination, your doctor will probably take a sample of cervical cells (a biopsy) for lab testing. Your doctor might utilize a tissue to:
- Punch biopsy entails taking tiny samples of cervical tissue with a sharp tool.
- Endocervical curettage involves scraping a tissue sample from the cervix using a tiny, spoon-shaped tool (a curet) or a thin brush.
If the results of the punch biopsy or endocervical curettage are concerning, your doctor may order one of the following procedures:
- An electrical wire loop takes a little tissue sample using a thin, low-voltage electrified wire. Local anaesthetic is typically used during this operation in the doctor’s office.
- Your doctor may do a cone biopsy, also called conization, to get cells from deeper layers of your cervix for testing in the lab. A cone biopsy can be done in a hospital under general anaesthesia.
You will have additional tests to evaluate your cancer’s severity (stage) if your doctor finds that you have cervical cancer. The stage of your cancer will greatly influence the course of your treatment. Staging tests consist of the following:
- Imaging tests. Your doctor can ascertain whether your cancer has spread past your cervix by using examinations like X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and positron emission tomography (PET).
- Visually inspect your rectum and bladder. To view your bladder and rectum, your doctor could utilize specialized scopes.
Options In Their Early Stages
When the cancer of the cervix has not spread, surgery is a popular treatment option. If a doctor thinks there could be cancer cells inside the body, radiation therapy might be helpful after surgery. Additionally, radiation therapy may lessen the chance of recurrence. Chemotherapy may be used on the patient if the surgeon wants to reduce the tumour to make it simpler, although it is not a usual approach.
Advanced Cervical Cancer Treatment
Surgery is typically not an option if cancer has progressed beyond the cervix. Due to the invasion of more body regions, doctors also refer to progressed cancer as invasive cancer. This kind of cancer necessitates more intensive care, which usually includes radiation therapy or radiation therapy with chemotherapy combination. Medical professionals offer palliative therapy in the advanced stages of cancer to reduce symptoms and enhance the quality of life.
Some medical professionals abbreviate radiation treatment as XRT or radiation oncology. It entails using high-energy radiation or X-ray beams to eradicate cancer cells. When the treating clinician directs radiation to the pelvic area, the following adverse effects may occur, some of which may not become apparent until after the therapy is completed:
- Bladder irritation
- Upset stomach
- Interrupted menstrual cycle
- Narrowing of the vagina
- Early menopause
Chemotherapy is the practice of treating any illness with chemicals (medicine). It refers to the eradication of cancer cells in this context. Chemotherapy is used by doctors to treat advanced symptoms of cervical or to eradicate cancer cells that surgery failed to reach or was unable to remove. Chemotherapy’s side effects can differ depending on the medication used. Additional negative effects include:
- Hair loss
- Early menopause
Clinical Trials For Cervical Cancer
In some cases, taking part in a clinical study is the best course of treatment. Clinical trials play a crucial role in the fight against cancer. Researchers conduct them to ascertain the efficacy and safety of novel treatments and if they are superior to those currently available. Participants in clinical trials make a difference in the advancement of cancer research. Go to this government website to learn more about open clinical trials.
In order to help you choose the course of treatment that best suits your needs, it’s crucial to talk to your doctors about all of your available options, their objectives, and any potential adverse effects. Aside from the disease stage at the time of diagnosis, additional factors that may affect your options include your age, general health, particular circumstances, and preferences.