Cervical cancer treatments can vary depending on the severity of the cancer and on the woman's desire to have children.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, which is also known as the womb. The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina, which is the birth canal. Cervical cancer occurs when cells in the lining of the cervix multiply rapidly and grow out of control to form a tumor. Doctors are often able to recognize pre-cancerous changes in cells in the cervix before they cells actually become cancerous by performing a pap test.
Treatment for cervical cancer
Treatment for cervical cancer is determined in part by the severity or stage of the cancer. The doctor may also take into account the woman’s desire to have children when planning a course of treatment.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment than uses drugs to kill cancer cells. These drugs travel through the bloodstream of the whole body in order to reach the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is not usually an effective way to treat cervical cancer but it can be used in combination with radiation treatments.
Radiation is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be used from outside the body, or by placing radioactive material in specific locations in the cervix. Radiation treatments may be more effective at fighting cervical cancer when they are combined with chemotherapy.
• Surgery is a type of cancer treatment that removes the cancerous cells or tumor from the body by cutting them away from the surrounding healthy tissue. There are many types of surgery used to treat cervical cancer:
• Cryosurgery – A metal probe is cooled using liquid nitrogen. Cancerous cells are killed when they are frozen by the probe which is placed against them inside the cervix. This procedure is used to treat pre-cancerous cells and cervical cancer that has not grown into nearby tissues.
• Laser surgery – A laser beam is used instead of a knife to remove pieces of tissue to eliminate cancer cells or to burn them away.