Receiving a cancer diagnosis can feel devastating, particularly when the cancer is not discovered until an advanced stage. As a result, doctors often recommend regular screening tests for various types of cancer. For women, mammograms and PAP smears should be part of a routine annual health regimen to detect breast or cervical cancer.
Although the PAP smear procedure can be a bit uncomfortable, it is swift and easy to do during a regular visit with your doctor. PAP smears are very effective in helping doctors to diagnose cervical cancer at its earliest stages. In addition, women should watch for other signs of cervical cancer, such as unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, or bleeding after intercourse. In addition, women should be aware that certain risk factors may increase their risk of getting cervical cancer, including: smoking, having a high number of sexual partners, using birth control for over five years, or having HPV or HIV.
As with most cancers, in general, the earlier that cervical cancer is detected and treated, the better the long-term prognosis. When caught at stage 1 or 2, cervical cancer responds very well to standard early-stage treatments. Survival rates are high; the 5-year survival rate for women who undergo treatment is 95%. Scheduling regular pap tests with your gynecologist and being aware of early warning signs, such as irregular vaginal bleeding, can help to ensure the earliest diagnosis possible.
Early Stage Cervical Cancer Treatment
The most common treatment for cervical cancer that has been diagnosed early is cervical conization to remove the cancerous cells. If your doctor feels that there is a possibility that the cancer cells have spread beyond the cervix, or for patients who are beyond their child-bearing years, a doctor may recommend a hysterectomy to remove the cervix and uterus. While a hysterectomy is a major surgery with a significant recovery period, it is a highly effective way of addressing cervical cancer.
Developing a Treatment Plan
If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, it is important to investigate all your treatment options and develop a treatment plan you are comfortable with. After discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each therapy with your doctor and close family, it may take some time to discern what you want to do. No two patients are exactly alike, and no two cancers are exactly alike. When crafting a treatment plan, it is vital to take control of your health, factoring in your stage of life, your priorities, and your long-term interests.
It is also essential that you educate yourself; some treatments, for example, may affect a woman’s ability to have children. Before embarking on any course of treatment, address all your concerns with your oncologist to ensure you understand all the ramifications of your decisions.
At Beacon Clinic, we work with a variety of cancer patients, including patients with cervical cancer. Our treatment team will work with you to coordinate every aspect of your treatment.
We offer several cancer therapies in-house, including oral chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. In addition to surgery, any or all of these therapies may be utilized when treating cervical cancer. Beacon also offers many supportive services, including in-house phlebotomy services and financial and nutritional counseling. We aim to provide comprehensive support throughout your cancer journey, from diagnosis to recovery.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, contact us today at Beacon Clinic in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Our team of oncologists and healthcare experts will provide the support you need as you undergo cervical cancer treatment.