What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a malignancy that originates in the cervix, the narrow passage that connects the lower part of the uterus to the vagina. It’s the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide, behind breast and lung cancer, and is primarily caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Because the disease spreads slowly and can often be asymptomatic in its initial stages, scheduling an annual cervical cancer screening – including a Pap smear – is crucial for early detection and your continued well-being.
Cervical cancer in the advanced stages usually can’t be cured. In this case, an experienced oncologist will help their patient manage their symptoms and focus on improving their quality of life.
Factors That Can Affect Recurrence
Early-stage cervical cancer (Stage 0 and I) usually has a lower risk of recurrence than the more advanced stages (Stage II, III or IV), as cases where the cancerous tumor was larger than two centimeters have a higher chance of recurrence. Annual screenings and early detection are vital to ensuring potential tumors don’t grow too big, increasing your treatment’s chances of success.
The rate of patients who survive five years past their cervical cancer diagnosis varies based on what stage the cancer is at when treatment begins. On average, the overall five-year survival rate is calculated to be approximately 67 percent. The rate for those who receive treatment in the early stages is around 91 percent. Once the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in your cervix or nearby tissue and organs, that percentage drops to 60 percent. The five-year survival rate declines the further the cancer spreads, sometimes reducing to as low as 19 percent.
Once diagnosed, prompt surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments is often recommended to completely remove the cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.
After treatment, consistent follow-up care is essential to detect any signs of recurrence early and address them effectively. This usually involves:
- Pelvic exams and pap smears to identify any changes in the cervix
- Biopsies and imaging tests like CT scans and MRIs to evaluate the status of your lymph nodes
- HPV testing to identify ongoing infections
Can I Still Have Kids After a Cervical Cancer Recurrence?
It typically depends on the severity of your cancer and the treatment. There haven’t been any definitive studies proving that recurrence prevents women from having children or that fertility-saving treatments for cervical cancer – such as a cone biopsy – increase the chances of recurrence.
Instead, a person’s ability to conceive and carry to term after treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis primarily determined by their age, general health and ovarian function.
It’s also important to note that fertility-saving treatments are reserved for the early stage of cervical cancer, as advanced stages of cervical cancer require a greater focus on managing the growing tumor and may necessitate the removal of a patient’s uterus.
Receive Compassionate Care From Cancer Experts in Roseburg, OR
It’s not uncommon for patients to feel hopeless and exhausted after being re-diagnosed with cervical cancer after already having undergone invasive treatment to overcome it the first time. That doesn’t mean you can’t beat it again, especially when you have the assistance of a skilled and compassionate oncologist on your side.
As a state-of-the-art cancer center in Roseburg, Oregon, we have the expertise, technology and resources needed to give you dedicated and personalized care while minimizing disruption to your daily life. We also offer patient liaisons, support groups and counseling to help you and your loved ones financially and emotionally.
Call us at (541) 673-2267 or explore our wealth of resources for cervical cancer patients and get the help you deserve during a challenging time.