In early stages, cervical cancer can be treated successfully. The prognosis and choice of treatment is dependent on the stage of cancer. Other factors include desire to be fertile, overall health, age and quality of life.
One factor maybe cost of cervical cancer treatment in India. Types of treatment include:
- Surgery to get rid of cervical cancer.: the kind of surgery is dependent on extent and location of the cancer and if you desire to have children.
- Radiation therapy: In this X-rays of high dose or implants set in the vaginal cavity to destroy cancer cells. This is used in some stages of cancer and often, in combination with surgery.
- Chemo radiation: A combination of radiation and chemotherapy, ideal for both late-stage and early stage cervical cancer.
- Chemotherapy: In this , medicines are used to kill cancer cells.
The cancer’s stage is a crucial factor in selecting treatment. The following are the stages:
STAGE 0 (Carcinoma in situ):
This is considered as a stage of pre-cancer. Cancer cells are found only in cervix’s surface layer , not in deep layers. This type of cancer is curable but it can recur and so monitoring is required with colposcopy and pap tests.
- Simple hysterectomy
- Laser surgery
- Cold knife conization
- If woman wants to conceive children, treatment is:
Cone biopsy: If edges of cone biopsy have cancer cells, the remaining cancer after first biopsy can be corrected with a second cone biopsy . Also, a procedure of radical trachelectomy ( surgery on upper vagina and cervix)can be done.
- If woman doesn’t desire more children, treatment options are:
An easy, total hysterectomy or if cancer has spread, radical hysterectomy with destruction of lymph nodes in pelvis.
For a woman who wants to be fertile- Cone biopsy or Radical Trachelectomy.
For a woman who doesn’t want any more children:- External beam radiation therapy along with brachytherapy, Radiation therapy and Radical hysterectomy . Spread of cancer to other organs means that radiation and chemotherapy may be combined.
STAGE IB and IIA:
For a woman who wants to be fertile: trachelectomy with dissection of lymph node in pelvis.
- Radiation, if tumor is big
- If there is spreading of cancer, combination of radiation and chemotherapy.
- Brachytherapy combined with radiation therapy if woman does not opt for surgery.
- Radiation along with Chemo.
STAGES IB2 AND 11A2:
Usual treatment is:
- Chemotherapy with Cisplatin
- Hysterectomy along with chemo-radiation
STAGES IIB, III AND IVA:
- Chemo using Cisplatin or combination of Cisplatin with fluorouracil
- Radiation therapy to slow growth of cancer
In this stage, spread of cancer happens to other body areas and cannot be cured:
Treatment options are radiation and chemotherapy.
RECURRENT CANCER OF CERVIX:
Cancer can recur locally (cervix) or in distant places(bones, lungs).
- Pelvic surgery- if cancer has returned only in pelvis area.
- Radiation and chemo to slow down cancer symptoms
- Being part of clinical trials
CANCER WHEN PREGNANT:
Cervical cancers may develop in pregnant women, with over 70% in stage 1 cancer. Treatment depends on:
- Cancer in lymph nodes nearby
- Size of tumor
- Kind of cervical cancer
- The length of pregnancy
Options for cancer of early stage in pregnant women are:
- Cone biopsy
- Radical Trachelectomy
These are some aspects about treatment for cervical cancer. Because of the low cervical cancer surgery cost India, many medical tourists flock to the country.