Cervical Cancer is a rising health concern among women according to recent studies. This cancer is rising among women due to a lack of healthy lifestyles and diet plans in their daily life. These cancers are affected when HPV (Human papillomavirus infection) occurs when having unprotected sex. Cervical cancer can become invasive cancer if not treated with medical facilities, they usually don’t show any symptoms until the cancer has grown or spread to other parts. We spoke to Dr. Phani Madhuri Senior Consultant Obstetrician, and Gynecologist at Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Jayanagar Bangalore to know how cervical cancer may impact pregnancy and how to negate the effects.
Early-stage cancer can be identified by the pap test which most medical experts recommend, these pap test is a method of screening to detect potentially the precancerous and cancerous processes in the cervix. HPV vaccines are recommended to every adolescent as a routine vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
Types of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is classified commonly as Squamous cell carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma or sometimes they have the features of both.
Squamous cell carcinoma: This cancer usually develops in the ectocervix or in the outer part of the cervix which is thin and flat cells. Studies have shown that most cervical cancers are squamous cells carcinoma
Adenocarcinoma: This cancer usually appears in the glandular cells of the endocervix, it is identified in certain internal organs which release substances in the body, such as mucus, digestive juices, and other fluids.
Also Read: 5 Facts About Cervical Cancer That Indian Women Need to Know
Treatment Options for Cervical Cancer
Cervical Cancer becomes aggressive if the treatment doesn't start at an early stage, during the early stage if the cancer hasn't been spread to other parts of the body the recommended treatment is cone biopsy, trachelectomy, hysterectomy, and chemoradiation. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a method that is performed to reduce the extent of and the complications associated with cancer, this method is usually performed if the medical surgeon has experience with the given technique.
Cervical conization: This treatment method for cervical cancer is normally used at the early stage where a cone-shaped portion is removed including the cancerous part. This treatment usually doesn't take that time and the patient is recommended to go home on the same day.
Simple trachelectomy: This usually removes most of the cervix, but it does not remove the parametrial tissue. Parametrial tissue is the fat and connective tissue that surrounds the uterus, this tissue helps in the connection of the uterus with the other tissue in the pelvis.
Radical trachelectomy: Simple and radical trachelectomy are similar to each other with one difference, which includes removing the parametrial tissues. Radical trachelectomy removes the cervix and the parametrial tissues which are affected by cancer.
Follow-up: Most gynecologists recommend avoiding sexual intercourse and advising to avoid swimming for four to six weeks after having the treatment of conization and trachelectomy. Further surgery will be required if abnormal or cancerous cells are found in the margins during the conization or trachelectomy treatment.
Also Read: Life After Cervical Cancer: Follow-Up Care Guidelines By Doctor
Pregnancy after cervical treatment
Medical experts advise waiting for around 6 to 12 months for conceiving after the treatment of conization or trachelectomy. High-risk pregnancy or infertility chances become higher if enough time is not provided for healing.
Infertility: Infertility rises when the cervix is scarred or narrowed from the conization or trachelectomy treatment.
Cervical insufficiency: Even after the treatment of cervical cancer, a woman can get pregnant but that will cause a lot of complications which include miscarriage or preterm delivery, medical experts advise having a follow-up or regular check-up where they are observed about the length and the opening of the cervix.
Radical hysterectomy or radiation treatment prevents a woman to conceive in the future, but the advanced technology brought by the world helps women to have the experience of motherhood.
Also Read: Do Birth Control Pills Increase The Risk Of Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer can be identified and treated at an early stage. Knowing about the risk factor and the consequences include having routine screening to know what should be done. Symptoms shown should not be ignored they should be consulted with the doctor or any medical experts for knowing more. Medical experts usually recommend Pap tests and HPV vaccines to be the treatment used for the early stages. Screening Pap smear and HPV testing in sexually active patients can help in the prevention of cervical cancer.