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What are the Different Cervical Cancer Treatments?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cervical cancer is a potentially fatal disease that affects women of all ages. In this disease, cancer cells develop on the cervix, which is lower portion of the uterus leading to the vagina. The cause of cervical cancer is not always known, although a sexually transmitted disease called the human papillomavirus, or HPV, is thought to lead to this disease in many patients. There are several cervical cancer treatments available, depending upon the stage of the disease when it is diagnosed. Some of the more common treatment options include surgical intervention, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments.

Many women who have cervical cancer do not experience any symptoms. This makes regular pelvic exams extremely important, as a routine exam and pap test can often detect subtle changes in the cervix in the earliest stages of this disease, when it is easiest to treat. A woman's chance of survival greatly increases when the cancer is found in the early stages, before it has a chance to spread to other parts of the body.

A cone biopsy is one of the more common cervical cancer treatments in women who have been diagnosed in the earliest stages of the disease. This procedure is typically performed as a type of outpatient surgery and may sometimes be done in the doctor's office. A cone biopsy typically involves removing a small amount of cervical tissue for testing but can also be used to remove small cancerous lesions. Potential side effects from this procedure include cramping and bleeding for a few days or weeks following the procedure.

A partial, or simple, hysterectomy is sometimes considered to be among the best possible cervical cancer treatments. This method of treatment is most common in the first stage of cancer, when the cancerous tissue is isolated to just the cervix and uterus. In a partial hysterectomy, only the cervix and uterus are removed. The ovaries, fallopian tubes, and surrounding lymph glands are left intact.

Chemotherapy and radiation are also among potential cervical cancer treatments. These methods may be used independently or in conjunction with one another. Chemotherapy involves the introduction of chemicals into the body aimed at destroying cancer cells and is administered either through an IV or in pill form. Radiation therapy involves introducing high-energy radiation into the body through the use of a machine or by injecting radioactive chemicals into the blood. Both of these cervical cancer treatments are typically used in more advanced stages of cancer or when the cancer has spread throughout the body.

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