Cervical cancer is a cancer that forms in the tissues of the cervix in women. The cervix is located between the vagina and uterus and connects the two organs. Cervical cancer is usually slow to grow and may have few symptoms. Generally, this cancer is identified with the PAP smear during regular office visits. Most cervical cancers are caused by the Human Papillomavirus organism as a result of infection. Cervical cancer affects over 12,000 women yearly.
Cervical cancer may be treated with radiation or chemotherapy or both, depending on location, size, age of patient and other precipitating factors. Often however, surgical intervention is necessary for recovery.
Many options for surgical procedures exist, again depending on location, severity, age and personal desires of the patient. Cervical cancer surgery may be initiated at the beginning of treatment, or as a final procedure if other treatment modalities are not successful. Often, cervical cancer may affect a woman’s abilities to have children and is taken into account.
Several procedures or surgeries are used to treat this cancer, again, depending on location, severity and other factors. Some of these procedures include
In the cone biopsy or LEEP procedure, also known as Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure, the surgeon uses a low voltage, thin electrified wire to cut out cancerous tissue. This surgical procedure cuts out a wedge of tissue containing the cancer. Other tissues are not disturbed or damaged.
A more complex approach for those with increased cancer to tissues involves a Radical Trachelectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the cervix, part of the vagina and pelvic lymph nodes. The uterus is retained and left in place.
The most drastic approach for cancer treatment is the removal of the entire uterus, often leaving the ovaries in place. Depending on the severity and location of the cancer, the surgeon may remove any or all parts of the uterus, vagina, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Many surgeries are now performed with laparoscopes, small flexible tubes inserted into small incisions made into the abdomen. This procedure minimizes muscle destruction, speeds recovery and eliminates long hospital stays and recoveries.
Most cervical cancer surgeries require six to eight weeks recovery time with limitations placed on lifting, driving and other activities as determined by the physician. Full recovery is usually obtained by eight to ten weeks.
Side effects from this surgery may include bladder difficulties during the healing process, constipation or diarrhea. Sexual intercourse may become difficult at first, with hormonal changes if the ovaries have been removed.
Any type of spinal procedure or treatment should be overseen by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spinal care and spinal surgeries. Orthopedic surgeons should be certified and experienced in all types of spinal surgeries, including cervical, thoracic and lumbar procedures and techniques, and belong to recognized organizations and associations. An oncologist and a vascular surgeon may also be required, depending on the size, location and state of the tumor involved. Consumers should always verify the experience and training of surgeons, facilities and support staff to ensure proper training and expertise, certification, and accreditation for any suggested procedures or techniques.
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