Cervical Cancer

by | Aug 8, 2019

The lifetime risk of Cervical Cancer is 1:90 and it is the third most common gynaecologic malignancy after uterine and ovarian cancers. Cervical cancer can involve the outer covering of the cervix (squamous cells) or the gland cells of the cervix.

Risk factors include the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), smoking and immunosuppression. With the advent of a National Screening Program for Cervical Cancer (PAP Smear) and the HPV vaccine, the rates of cervical cancer have declined over time.

Symptoms

Abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding after intercourse, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, and kidney problems can indicate cervical cancer. However, many women have no symptoms and cancer is diagnosed at the time of a routine PAP Smear. Some women have a precursor lesion to cancer called Cervical Intra-epithelial Neoplasia (CIN). More information on CIN can be found in the section on Abnormal PAP Smears.

Treatments

The treatment of cervical cancer can be divided into two main groups. After investigations have been performed your disease is staged. For women with early stage disease treatment is surgery comprising a radical hysterectomy (with removal of the parametrium), removal of both tubes and ovaries and removal of bilateral pelvic lymph nodes. For women with more advanced disease treatment is primary chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You will be referred to the medical and radiation oncologists for this treatment.

Followup

The treatment of cervical cancer can be divided into two main groups. After investigations have been performed your disease is staged. For women with early stage disease treatment is surgery comprising a radical hysterectomy (with removal of the parametrium), removal of both tubes and ovaries and removal of bilateral pelvic lymph nodes. For women with more advanced disease treatment is primary chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You will be referred to the medical and radiation oncologists for this treatment.

Staging and Prognosis

Some women will require post-operative radiation or chemotherapy and will be referred to the appropriate specialist for this. Once you have completed treatment for Cervical Cancer you will be monitored regularly over the next several years. In some cases your cancer may recur. Further imaging and blood tests will be performed at that time and management options will be discussed. These include further surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.