Cervical cancer affects the deeper cervical tissues and can spread to other body parts if not treated on time. The leading cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can be prevented through vaccination. Treating cervical cancer involves a team of multidisciplinary medical experts. They include, apart from the oncologists, a support team of assistants, nurses, counselors, nurses, dietitians, etc.
Cancer treatment depends on several factors. These include the stage of cancer, the overall health of the patient, side effects, and patient preferences. Here are some cervical cancer treatment tips that may help make the right decision.
Stages of Cervical Cancer
During treatment for cervical cancer in Delhi or at other locations, doctors check the tumor size to determine the stage of cancer. They also check whether cancer has spread to other body parts.
Stage 0: Precancerous cells are present in this stage, and no tumor is visible from tests. Scanning the cervical tissue can indicate the presence of cancerous cells for early treatment.
Stage 1: Cancer grows and spreads from the cervix lining into the deep tissue. Surrounding lymph nodes and the uterus may also be affected.
Stage 2: Cancer spreads faster past the uterus and surrounding regions like the vagina or cervical tissues within the pelvic area. It does not affect any other parts of the body at this stage. The tumor can be around 4 centimetres wide and spread to parametrial areas.
Stage 3: The tumor manifests in the lower part of the vagina, and cancerous cells attack the pelvic wall. It may cause kidney swelling and inhibit kidney functions. Surrounding lymph nodes may also be affected.
Stage 4: Cancer has spread to other body parts, affects the bladder and rectum, and spreads past the pelvis. The lymph nodes may be affected and cancer may spread further from the place of origin to other organs. These could be the lungs, liver, bones, and lymph nodes in the later stages.
Cervical cancer treatments
Treatment for cervical cancer in Delhi through radiation therapy involves the use of high-powered energy beams like protons or x-rays to kill cancerous cells. Radiation and chemotherapy are used concurrently for locally advanced stages of cancer.
Chemotherapy uses chemical drugs to kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing. It can be administered intravenously or through pills. In later stages of cancer, both pills and IVs can be used. Higher doses of chemo might be suggested for managing symptoms of advanced cancer.
Targeted drug treatments focus on specific sites where there are cancer cells. These drugs identify the weakness of cancer cells and attack them. This treatment option can be combined with chemotherapy in advanced cancer stages.
Immunotherapy treatments help the immune system to fight cancer. Cancerous cells release proteins that prevent the immune system cells from detecting them. Immunotherapy prevents these cells from releasing the protein, and it is considered when other treatments do not yield the desired results.
Surgery can be done in the early or late stages of cervical cancer. Some of the procedures of surgical treatment for cervical cancer in Delhi include;
The doctor removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervical canal and the cervix in this procedure. The tissue is then viewed under a microscope to detect any cancer cells. This procedure is also called cone biopsy and can be used to diagnose and treat cervical cancer. Patients undergoing this process have the option of conceiving in the future.
- Total Hysterectomy
This surgery is recommended for later cancer stages because it involves the removal of the uterus and the cervix. The procedure can either be vaginal hysterectomy, abdominal hysterectomy, or laparoscopic hysterectomy, depending on how it was done.
- Radical Trachelectomy
Radical trachelectomy is a surgery performed to remove the cervix, lymph nodes, and surrounding tissue. The upper part of the vagina can also be removed, excluding the ovaries and the uterus.
Tips for Preventing Cervical Cancer
There are some measures patients can take to prevent cervical cancer.
Getting vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV)
Considering HPV is the leading cause of cancer, getting an HPV vaccine can reduce the chances of getting cervical cancer.
Practicing safe sex
There are over 100 HPV strains that can cause cancer. So even with vaccination, individuals need to practice safe sex to prevent cervical cancer from other strains.
Cervical screening helps a person identify and treat any early signs and symptoms of cancer before it spreads further. However, screening only indicates abnormalities in the cervix but cannot detect cancer.
Delaying first sexual intercourse
The age at which women engage in sexual intercourse is a factor is it may damage the cervix which is still developing. Studies have shown that the risk of getting cervical cancer in women who initiated sexual intercourse in their mid-teens is twice for those who did so after 20 years of age.
Cervical cancer is treatable, and you have to familiarize yourself with the various preventive measures. If you notice heavy periods or bleeding between periods, you need to consult your doctor. The most crucial thing to consider is cervical cancer screening through pap tests. If cancerous cells are detected in your cervix, your doctor will advise on the preventive measure to prevent them from spreading.