Cervical cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the cervix – the organ connecting the uterus and the vagina. It is nearly always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Typically slow-growing and asymptomatic (without apparent symptoms), cervical cancer can be detected from a Pap test, a screening procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and analyzed using a microscope. Pap tests, when combined with a regular screening program, can facilitate early detection, immediate treatment, and positive outcomes. Studies have found that appropriate screening and follow-up care can reduce cervical cancer deaths by as much as 80 percent.
Although circumstances will always vary depending on the unique conditions involved, researchers suggest that radical hysterectomy may offer better survival outcomes as compared to radiation. Radical hysterectomy – which is a treatment option for certain types of cancer – involves the complete removal of the uterus, cervix, upper vagina, and parametrium. Lymph nodes, ovaries, and fallopian tubes may also be removed.
Better outcomes are noted in women with early-stage cervical cancer who have tumors less than 6 cm in diameter, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. In these patients, mortality rates were lower for women who underwent radical hysterectomy rather than primary radiation. Survival rates did not differ for tumors larger than 6 cm. Although researchers have found the data reassuring, future studies can help determine their validity.
Those who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, or those who have a loved one who has recently been diagnosed, should focus on learning more about their available options, including hysterectomy and alternative treatments. If you would like to learn more, complete a contact form or call (888) 885-8311.