Cervical cancer treatment depends on different factors, including the stage and type of the cancer, and side effects of the treatment. Doctors will study the individual’s personal health condition before suggesting a treatment option. Different doctors may also work together to formulate an effective treatment plan that is a combination of several treatment methods. Patients may even have various options to choose from. Here are five treatment options for cervical cancer.
Surgery is used to remove cancerous tissue by operation. A gynecologic oncologist, a physician specializing in treating cancers of women’s reproductive organs, uses this treatment option to remove unhealthy tissue and tumor from the cervix. Surgery can be opted for when the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body. The different types of surgical procedures that can be opted for are hysterectomy, radical trachelectomy, and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
- Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy may be used to shrink the tumor. It can be a singular treatment option or be done before a surgery. The doctor that specialises in it is called a radiation oncologist. Protons, X-rays, or other forms of high-energy beams are used to destroy cancerous cells. External-beam radiation therapy is a commonly sought radiation option to treat cervical cancer. One may need a specific number of radiation therapies over time according to a planned schedule.
Chemotherapy aims to prevent cancer cells from dividing and spreading in the body. It is given in oral or intravenous doses and may be coupled with radiation therapy to make the latter more effective. This combination of both procedures is often sought in early stages of the cancer. The objective is to treat cervical cancer without the need for surgery. However, it may also be used after surgery, if any microscopic cancer still exists in the body.
One of the treatment options for cervical cancer, immunotherapy boosts the immune system to fight cancer. It tries to restore the function of the immune system by activating natural defenses, which is why it is also known as biologic therapy. In this procedure, pembrolizumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor, is used to prevent cervical cancer cells from multiplying in the body. Immunotherapy can be used during or after chemotherapy. It has side effects like drastic weight change and diarrhoea that one should be aware of, before going in for chemotherapy.
- Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy is designed to target changes in proteins, unhealthy tissues, and specific genes that are instrumental in cancer growth. After some tests, doctors may identify the factors that are causing the tumor in the cervix to survive. Through targeted therapy they then try to control these factors. This treatment option for cervical cancer works in different ways. It may boost the immune system or deliver a substance to the cancerous cells that may destroy them. In some cases, it may also help to deprive the cancer in the body from the hormones that it requires to grow.