Types of Treatment for Cervical Cancer:
Surgery is the removal of the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue during an operation. A gynecologic oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating gynecologic cancer using surgery. For cervical cancer that has not spread beyond the cervix, these procedures are often used:
- The use of the same procedure as a cone biopsy to remove all of the abnormal tissue. It can be used to remove cervical cancer that can only be seen with a microscope, called microinvasive cancer.
- The use of an electrical current passed through a thin wire hook. The hook removes the tissue. It can be used to remove microinvasive cervical cancer.
- The removal of the uterus and cervix. Hysterectomy can be either simple or radical. A simple hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and cervix. A radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, cervix, upper vagina, and the tissue around the cervix. A radical hysterectomy also includes an extensive pelvic lymph node dissection, which means lymph nodes are removed. This procedure can be done using a large cut in the abdomen, called laparotomy, or smaller cuts, called laparoscopy.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. If needed, this surgery is the removal of both fallopian tubes and both ovaries. It is done at the same time as a hysterectomy.
- Radical trachelectomy. A surgical procedure in which the cervix is removed, but the uterus is left intact. It includes pelvic lymph node dissection (see above). This surgery may be used for young patients who want to preserve their fertility. This procedure has become an acceptable alternative to a hysterectomy for some patients.
- The removal of the uterus, vagina, lower colon, rectum, or bladder if cervical cancer has spread to these organs after radiation therapy. Exenteration is rarely recommended. It is most often used for some people whose cancer has come back after radiation treatment.
Complications or side effects from surgery vary depending on the extent of the procedure. Occasionally, patients experience significant bleeding, infection, or damage to the urinary and intestinal systems.
Before surgery, talk with your health care team about the possible side effects from the specific surgery you will have.
Because these surgical procedures affect sexual health, patients should talk with their doctor about their symptoms and concerns in detail before the surgery.
The doctor may be able to help reduce the side effects of surgery and provide support resources on coping with any changes. If extensive surgical procedures have affected sexual function, other surgical procedures can be used to make an artificial vagina.