Dealing with Cervical Cancer
What to expect when you receive a diagnosis for cervical cancer. The difficulties and challenges that come along with cervical cancer specifically are detailed. Different cancer types and the experiences that come with are compared.
If you are battling cervical cancer you are not alone. In 2019 alone about 13,170 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is often diagnosed in young to middle-aged women. In fact, about 80% of all cervical cancer diagnoses are in women younger than 65. It is imperative to be informed of all your options when making decisions in regard to your specific cancer type. There are two main types of cervical cancer, Squamous cell carcinoma, and Adenocarcinoma of the cervix. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 90% of all cervical cancer cases while Adenocarcinoma is rarer, although it is becoming more common in recent years. In some cases, both types of cancer cells are involved in cervical cancer.
In order to create an effective treatment plan, the process starts with stage diagnosis. Cervical cancer is staged using the TNM (tumor, node, metastasis) system. There are four stages of cervical cancer, each defined by how much the cancer has spread and the TNM score. Stage 1 means the cancer is limited in the cervix and has not spread. This stage consists of substages that are defined by the size of the tumor; stage IA1, IA2, IB1, and IB2 with IB2 being the largest measuring greater than 4cm. Stage 2 means that the cancer has spread beyond the cervix and uterus but has not spread passed the pelvis walls. Stage 2 has substages that are defined by if the cancer has spread into surrounding tissues; stage IIA and IIB with IIB meaning the cancer has spread into tissues next to the cervix. Stage 3 means the cancer has spread to the lower part of the vagina or pelvis walls, but not beyond this. Stage 4 means the cancer has spread to other organs or other parts of the body. In order to see where a patient is in the staging process, there are tests and procedures to be done. A CT scan is a procedure that takes detailed pictures of areas inside the body. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. A PET scan is a procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and takes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. There is also an MRI which is a procedure that uses a magnet along with radio waves to take detailed pictures of areas inside the body. An ultrasound exam can also be used which is when sound waves are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes.
Treatments of cervical cancer very on the stage diagnosis, but most women have some type of surgery. Cryosurgery is a treatment that kills the cancer cells by freezing them. Laser surgery treatment uses a laser to burn off cancer cells. Both of these treatments may be used for stage 0 cancers. Conization is also called a cone biopsy. To do this a small cone-shaped piece of the part of the cervix that has the cancer is taken out. A hysterectomy takes out the uterus and cervix. It’s the most common way to treat cervical cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy are also used to treat later stages of cervical cancer.
Each cervical cancer patient is different; therefore, each treatment plan should be personalized for you specifically. At Massive Bio we provide customized, evidence-based treatment options and recommendations from top expert physicians. Your diagnosis is unique, and we want you to feel confident when fighting your battle. If you feel confused and don’t know what to do next, our team is here to support you. We will give you access to the best doctors, clinical trials, and treatments. Although cancer can seem scary, were going to get through this together.
Being informed of all your options includes the option of enrolling in a clinical trial. Clinical trials offer the opportunity to receive brand new therapy treatments. There about 400 clinical trials across the US for cervical cancer. This option can be overwhelming, but this is where our team comes in. We utilize our learning Synergy Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to help match you to clinical trials that cater to your specific cancer type and situation. Patients who enroll in a cervical cancer clinical trial may receive the most effective therapy then what’s currently available for cervical cancer. That means that treatments in the cervical cancer clinical trial may be the most effective at curing the cancer. Granting enrolling in a clinical trial is a great option, it might not be for you, and that’s okay. It is important for you to feel comfortable in your treatment plan.
Being diagnosed with cervical cancer can be scary but being informed and knowing all of your available options can make all the difference in this battle. Every cancer patient has their own unique journey, and we want to be there to support you through it and give you that personalized care that you need and deserve.