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What are the risks of a hysterectomy?

By May 16, 2010 - 10:57pm
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I'm now stage 4 and I worry about it spreading during the procedure. Is this the right thing to do? I also just found out I have endometreocyst.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Smockdanelle - As a cncer survivor, I know that what you're going through right now isn't easy, and that you have a lot of worries. I'm glad you reached out to us and that we can help you in your journey.

You have most likely been told that Stage 4 cervical cancer is the most advanced stage, and this level of staging means the cancer has spread to nearby organs and/or to other parts of the body. Your top priority right now has to be dealing with the cancer as it will spread to other organs if it is not stopped.

I am the kind of person who wants all the information I can get, some people do not. If you want to better understand staging, and the risks you are dealing with, please read this: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/cri/content/cri_2_4_3x_how_is_cervical_cancer_staged_8.asp

I can't tell from your comments if you are under the care of a gynecologist or oncologist (cancer doctor). You need to be under the care of an oncologist, and if you have a gynecological oncologist in your health plan that would be even better.

From my own experience, and my work with many other women, I strongly advise you to join a support group and get assistance from other women who have been in your shoes. Support groups can help you with issues such as employment rights, financial concerns, insurance issues and more. Here is a link to a page which shows how to find a local chapter of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition: http://www.nccc-online.org/community/chapters.html
If you do not have a local chapter then the American Cancer Society will most likely have a local chapter that can help you: Call them at 1-800-ACS-2345

The questions you need to be asking right now are what is the state of your cancer,what are the recommendations for treatments that will save your life and what are your options. Other conditions, such as having endometriosis, are secondary to dealing with the cancer. If a hysterectomy is needed, the surgeons know how to handle the surgery in the best possible manner and for your best health. Having surgery does not "spread" the cancer: ignoring the cancer will cause it to continue to grow and it will spread.

It's perfectly understandable that you're scared and confused right now, but you've done the right thing in reaching out for support. I encourage you to reach out for more. Your boys will need their mom to be stong for them during this time, and to do that it will help you to have others that help you get the information and tools you need to make the right decisions and choices in the days ahead.

Please stay in touch, and let us know how we can help. We want the best for you.

Take care,

May 19, 2010 - 6:00pm


I can tell what a stressful and worrisome time this must be for you. But your first priority HAS to be to get better. You HAVE to take care of yourself first. There's really no other way to deal with this. The bills will be large (do you have insurance?) and they will be hard to deal with. You may have to take a semester off from college. But you have to make your health the No. 1 priority right now.

How much has your doctor talked to you about your cancer? I am concerned that he left you with explanations that confused you. I assume that by "getting scraped" you mean that he said you would need a couple of D&C's? Is he also recommending a hysterectomy?

Anywhere in this process have you been able to get a second opinion? And did your doctor give you any time frame or a recommendation to an oncologist?

May 19, 2010 - 9:23am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Diane Porter)

Hi Smockdanelle,

As Diane said, I think a second opinion is a good idea. Many women with cervical cancer recover well without needing a hysterectomy.

Even though you are finished having children, your reproductive organs are so much more that just baby-making organs. Taking them out is a serious thing. Make sure that a hysterectomy is really and truly necessary before you go ahead - and by all means get one done if it will save your life. If you need it, get it done!

Being so young and a mother makes it very important to work on all of this very quickly. As time advances, so does your cancer.

I know it's easy to say 'don't worry about money' but life doesn't work like that, right? But if you don't get treatment, you could get extremely ill or even die (I know this is so uncomfortable to hear and even for me to say, but death is always a possibility in all cancers). Then money won't matter one way or the other.

I'd get into debt in the millions if it meant my life could be saved. You have everything to live for and you can always negotiate your bills down later (hospitals bill outrageously, knowing that they'll then work with you or your insurance company to take the cost down) . School will always be there for you later and your credits will all keep, especially if you are on a medical leave.

Life will go on either way and I know you want it to go on with you in it.

Please get that second opinion and start this process right now. Time is not our friend, when it comes to our health. Please don't let school or money troubles influence you - just get well and worry about the other things later. None of them mean anything anyway, if you're not here, right?

Please let us know your plans and please update us as soon as possible. Jump into this with all your might and don't allow external things to stop you. You are doing such a good job with your life already so don't stop now.

And please remember that we're here every day of the week for support and information. I'll be looking out for your updates and I know you will get through this!


May 19, 2010 - 12:17pm
HERWriter Guide

Dear smockdanelle

Thanks for your question and welcome!

I gather you have stage 4 cancer and I am truly sorry to read this.

Can you tell us what kind of cancer you have? Is it ovarian, uterine, cervical or some other kind of reproductive cancer?

There are many risks to a hysterectomy. Firstly, there are risks to all surgery.
And with a hysterectomy, menopause sets in immediately, the procedure is irreversible and many women find they live in great discomfort.

However, a hysterectomy can save a life and not all women suffer such side effects. If you have a stage 4 cancer that needs a hysterectomy to save your life, then it's something you must consider.

Read our Hysterectomy page here: http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/hysterectomy

Our page discusses in depth, the reasons for the procedure, the, risks, alternative treatment options and what to expect before, during and after.

Please let us know if this information helps you.

smockdanelle, again, please give us more information as to your particular case - the more we know about you, the more we can help! We wish you the best and please update us as soon as you can.


May 17, 2010 - 1:28pm
(reply to Susan Cody)

Thank you so much for being fast and honest with me. A couple months ago my doctor told me I have HPV. I was clueless about this. So I looked on line and found out what it was. At that time I wasn't scared because my doctor said I was only at stage 2. In November I had a tubal because I was done having children and I had a lot of issues in the past drom pregnacies. He then found out it had spread very fast. He said something about inside the canal. I had no clue what that was. He then said I would need to come in a couple times to get scrapped. Long story short, I have cervical cancer at age 30, single mom of two great boys ages 10 and 4, and I'm going to college. I work 2 jobs and I'm concerned that I wont be able to support my children needing 2 months off to recover. I'm very scared and confused at the same time. Mainly about the bills, and my health for my kids. Any suggestions would be great for me.
Thanks, Danelle

May 17, 2010 - 9:43pm
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