The primary determinant of treatment for cervical cancer is its stage. But other factors, such as the precise location of the tumor within the cervix, the type of cancer (squamous cell or adenocarcinoma), your age and general health, and whether you wish to have children, can also influence your treatment options.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer that begins in the cervix’s cells is called cervical cancer. The cervix is the uterus’ bottom, thin end (womb). The uterus and vagina connect via the cervix (birth canal). Typically, cervical cancer progresses gradually over time. The cervical tissue undergoes changes known as dysplasia, in which abnormal cells emerge in the tissue before cancer develops in the cervix. If left unchecked or untreated, the abnormal cells may eventually develop into cancer cells, expand more profoundly into the cervix, and spread to nearby tissues. What factors affect cervical cancer therapy choices?
The following variables affect a treatment plan:
● Cervical cancer stage
● Available choices for treatment
● Medical background
● Individual preferences
Before making decisions, it’s critical to know of the dangers associated with various cervical cancer treatments because they could affect the patient’s sexual life or fertility. For example, fertility-sparing surgery may be a therapy option for women with early-stage cervical cancer.
Read Also: Cervical Cancer Vaccine in India
Primary Cervical Cancer Treatments
At the first appointment, the patient’s health will be discussed, and a gynecologic oncologist will take time to address any queries or worries the patient may have about cervical cancer treatment.
Doctors will then review the various cervical cancer therapy choices and how supportive care services might be incorporated into the treatment plan. A therapy strategy can include the following:
● Radiation treatment
● Targeted treatment
The primary approach to treating cervical cancer is based on the cancer stage, but different combinations of these medicines may get used.
- Surgery: Surgery is a common treatment for cervical cancer patients, and a few different kinds can be employed.
A surgical process known as conization can treat precancers, which are aberrant cells that have the potential to develop into cancer. Using a knife, laser surgery, or a technique known as the loop electrosurgical excision procedure, a surgeon can remove aberrant cells or tissue (LEEP). LEEP uses a loop of thin wire heated by electricity, and laser surgery removes a tumor or surface lesion using powerful light beams.
The primary surgical procedures for cervical cancer, aside from those used to treat precancers, include:
● Drastic or simple hysterectomies
● Trachelectomy may be simple or extensive.
● Pelvic enlargement
- Radiation treatment: Radiation oncologists use technology to treat malignant cells in the cervix with substantial radiation doses while sparing healthy tissue. These treatments aim to lessen the incidence of typical gastrointestinal and sexual function side effects associated with radiation therapy for cervical cancer by concentrating the radiation directly on the tumor.
These are the two forms of radiation therapy:
● A machine outside the body emits high-energy X-rays toward the cervix in external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), killing the malignant cells.
● Internal radiation treatment, known as high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy, involves inserting a radioactive source into the vagina and placing it either next to or inside the malignancy.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses medications to kill malignant cells or stop them from growing. It is advised for a sizable portion of cervical cancer patients. In addition, chemotherapy may get added to the treatment plan for women predominantly receiving radiation therapy to help enhance outcomes.
Chemotherapy creates side effects because, like radiation therapy, it damages healthy cells while attempting to eradicate cancer.
Typical adverse effects include:
● Hunger loss
● Oral sores
● Uneasy stomach
● Hair fall
- Targeted Treatment: Targeted therapy aims to recognize and combat the distinctive characteristics of particular cancer cells. Drugs used in targeted therapy function by binding to proteins or receptors on cancer cells, killing the partitions, or improving the efficacy of other treatments like chemotherapy. Angiogenesis inhibitors, which stop cancer cells from growing blood vessels that feed tumors, are among the medicines used in targeted cervical cancer treatment.
- Immunotherapy: With the aid of molecules produced by the body or in a lab, immunotherapy strengthens the immune system or assists it in identifying and combating cancer cells.
These medications, intended to activate the immune system to target specific cancer cells, have been approved for treating lung, kidney, and melanoma tumors, and trials for several additional malignancies are currently underway. Combining immunotherapies with other therapies may result in better results for particular individuals.
Immunotherapy’s more frequent side effects include:
● Flu-like signs
● Thyroid adjustments
● Weight variations
Clinical trials are frequently designed to give patients with advanced cancer therapy options after they may have exhausted all other options. In addition, problems may be possible in some circumstances for patients to receive a new drug for their particular cancer that is not yet commercially accessible but has been demonstrated to be safe and effective. Therefore, if a patient meets the study’s eligibility requirements, they may be eligible for a clinical trial regardless of where they are in their condition or treatment.
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