Can Cervical Cancer Affect Women Who Have Had a Hysterectomy?

Due to the invasive nature of the surgery, it’s usually a last resort after more conservative options have first been explored. Some women may opt for the procedure for reasons other than treating an illness, such as if they don’t want to have children.

If you’ve had a total hysterectomy, your cervix (the lower part of the uterus) has also been removed, which means it’s extremely unlikely you’ll develop cervical cancer. As a result, the need to annually screen for cervical cancer is essentially eliminated. You’ll still be at risk of developing ovarian and other types of cancers, though, so you should still schedule routine cancer screenings.

However, if you only had a partial hysterectomy and your cervix was left intact, your risk of developing cervical cancer will be unaffected.

A radical hysterectomy is another last resort procedure in which all the reproductive organs – uterus, ovaries, cervix and fallopian tubes – are removed. Due to the extreme nature of this procedure, it’s typically only recommended for malignant cancers. If you’re diagnosed with early-stage cervical cancer, a radical hysterectomy can dramatically lower the chance of recurrence.

However, if a radical hysterectomy is performed in the later stages, the chances that those cancerous cells – which have already progressed to a dangerous degree – continue to spread after the operation are elevated, hence why your risk may not be entirely nullified.

One study even found that 16.9 percent of women who had a radical hysterectomy experienced a recurrence. Keeping up with your routine cervical cancer screenings after a radical hysterectomy can be crucial to your well-being.

How to Lower Your Risk of Cervical Cancer

If only part of your cervix was removed during a hysterectomy or if you are at high risk of recurrence, you’ll need to continue undergoing cervical cancer screenings. This is especially vital for women over 30, who should undergo regular pap smears. During a pap smear, your healthcare provider can detect if there are any abnormal cell changes in the remaining cervical tissue and promptly formulate a targeted treatment plan to increase the likelihood of an optimal treatment outcome.

Since the human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the primary causes of cervical cancer and is contracted during sex, practicing safe sex and using condoms is one of the best ways to lower the likelihood of developing HPV and cervical cancer.

You can also significantly reduce your risk by getting the HPV vaccine, which is most effective when administered to those between ages nine and 26. The vaccine is one of the most effective tools for preventing cervical cancer, as it makes it far less likely that women will contract the high-risk strains of the virus that are most likely to lead to cervical cancer.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise can lower your risk of developing most cancers, including cervical cancer. In particular, quitting or avoiding smoking, which is a notable cofactor in the progression of HPV, can decrease your risk of cervical cancer on top of enhancing your overall health.

Get the Compassionate and Dedicated Care You Deserve During This Challenging Time in Roseburg, OR

If you want to schedule a cervical cancer screening or want a targeted and effective treatment plan after a positive diagnosis, our experienced oncologists can help. At the Community Cancer Center, our team has the experience, expertise and advanced resources to care for you effectively. We will work hard to increase your chances of securing a better treatment outcome and improving your quality of life.

Our entire oncology team is committed to being here for Roseburg women in all aspects of their care, including by providing ample financial and emotional resources. Call (541) 673-2267 or explore our cervical cancer resources page to learn more and get the help you need today.