Targeted Therapy For Cervical Cancer
Targeted therapy is designed to identify and counteract unique qualities of specific cancer cells. Targeted therapy drugs work by attaching themselves to proteins or receptors on cancer cells, either killing the cells or helping other therapies, such as chemotherapy, work better. Among the drugs used in targeted therapy are so-called angiogenesis inhibitors, designed to prevent cancer cells from developing blood vessels that feed tumors.
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Surgery And Its Side Effects
The main aim of cancer removal surgery is to remove all the cancer cells without causing any much damage to the surrounding healthy tissues.
In most cases, the patient may receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy after the surgery to destroy the remaining cancer cells depending upon the risk features on surgical specimen.
Cervical cancer in its very early stages can be removed through cryosurgery or laser surgery .
These minor procedures may cause side effects such as:
- Vaginal bleeding or watery discharge
- Cramps, usually due to the tissue damage
These side effects are mild and may subside on their own.
Some women may have to undergo a procedure called LEEP , also called conization. In this procedure, electric current is passed through a thin wire to excise the cancer tissue.
Women who have stage 1 cervical cancers may need to undergo removal of cervix with surrounding lymph nodes or removal of the uterus .
After any of these procedures, they may experience:
- Pain for a few days to 2-3weeks
- Difficulty in passing urine or rarely bowel movement
- Risk of blood clots in lower limbs
- Risk of infections, especially at the incision site.
The surgery may involve a very mild risk of damage to nearby organs, like the bladder, ureters, or rectum.
Trachelectomy, usually performed in women with early cancers who wish to preserve the uterus for bearing a child, may lead to long term problems such higher risk for miscarriage and pre-term delivery.
Treatment Options By Stage
Radiation therapy alone or surgery is generally used for an early-stage tumor. These treatments have been shown to be equally effective at treating early-stage cervical cancer. Chemoradiation is generally used for people with a larger tumor, an advanced-stage tumor found only in the pelvis, or if the lymph nodes have cancer cells. Commonly, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used after surgery if there is a high risk of the cancer coming back or if the cancer has spread.
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Subgroup Analysis According To Tnm Stage
Tumor stage is one of the main factors that affect cancer survival. Cancer cells from cervical cancer patients at an advanced stage exhibited higher rate of DNA synthesis and more rapid cell proliferation. Radiotherapy is particularly effective on cancer cells during DNA synthesis and active proliferation, owing to the DNA damage effects of radiotherapy. Thus, tumor stage may have a significant effect on response after radiotherapy. Patients were stratified into 2 groups, such as relative early stages or late stages , to investigate the efficiency of radiotherapy. Figure Figure22 shows that radiotherapy on patients diagnosed at early stages resulted in a lower OS and CSS. Radiotherapy on late-stage patients resulted in an improved OS and CSS. After including other variables, radiotherapy on patients diagnosed at stage I and II was a risk factor , whereas radiotherapy on patients diagnosed at stage III and IV was a beneficial factor .2). These results highlighted the importance of assigning different radiotherapy treatments or evaluating the use of radiotherapy on cervical cancer patients based on tumor stages.
Survival curves in cervical cancer patients according to radiotherapy stratified by TNM stage. Overall survival of stage I/II group, 2=2590.879, P< .001. Cause-specific survival of stage I/II group, 2=2296.589, P< .001. Overall survival of stage III/IV group, 2=1573.882, P< .001. Cause-specific survival of stage III/IV group, 2=1431.397, P< .001.
Causes And Risk Factors
Radiation therapy works by damaging DNA in cells. This damage isnt isolated to cancer cells, though normal cells can be damaged as well. While radiation therapy has improved significantly such that less damage occurs to healthy cells than in the past, some healthy tissues are inevitably exposed.
Several variables can increase or decrease your risk of developing long-term side effects of radiotherapy. Some of these are:
- Your age at the time of radiation
- The dose of radiation you receive
- The number of treatment sessions
- The type of cancer treated
- The area of the body that receives radiation
- Other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
- Other health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes
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Definition Of Types Of Recurrences
The radiation field was defined as the tumour volume contained within the prescription dose. Tumour recurrence was defined as a progression of tumour volume within the initial radiation field, i.e. within the prescription dose. Out-of-field recurrence was defined as tumour progression immediately adjacent to the radiation field and hence outside the initial prescription isodose. The occurrence of a new meningioma was defined as a distant tumour unrelated to the radiation field.
Chemotherapy For Cervical Cancer
Chemotherapy treats cancer with drugs that kill cancerous cells or prevent cancerous cells from spreading. Its recommended for a significant percentage of cervical cancer patients. For women treated primarily with radiation therapy, chemotherapy may be added to the treatment regimen to help improve responses.
Chemotherapy regimens may consist of a single drug or a combination of drugs at set times over weeks or months. The cancer care team carefully calculates the types of drugs, dosages and times administered to the patient to maximize their effect on the cancer while limiting their harm to healthy cells.
Like radiation therapy, chemotherapy harms healthy cells in its quest to kill cancer, which causes side effects. Most go away after treatment.
Common side effects include:
During chemotherapy, the care team will provide supportive care services to help ease side effects. For example, our naturopathic clinicians may suggest supplements to reduce nausea.
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How You Have Radiotherapy
You are usually admitted to hospital urgently for radiotherapy for spinal cord compression. You stay in hospital while you have the treatment.
You have the radiotherapy as a single treatment or a series of daily treatment sessions called fractions. Normally you have one a day. But occasionally you may have 2 fractions a day, for example, just before a weekend.
Whether you have a plastic mould made to keep you still while you have treatment depends on the part of the spine that has cancer. Youre likely to have a plastic mould made if the cancer is in the upper part of your spine.
As Part Of The Main Treatment For Cervical Cancer
For some stages of cervical cancer, the preferred treatment is radiation and chemo given together . The chemo helps the radiation work better. Options for concurrent chemoradiation include:
- Cisplatin given weekly during radiation. This drug is given into a vein before the radiation appointment.
- Cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil given every 3 weeks during radiation.
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Subgroup Analysis According To Age
Women inevitably start menopause between age 45 and 55. During this time, most women experience mental and physical changes. Such changes may have potent effect on the response to cancer treatment and survival. Therefore, patients were stratified into 2 groups: younger than 45 years and older than 45 years . Patients diagnosed before menopause had relatively higher OS and CSS compared to those diagnosed at or after menopause. Nevertheless, radiotherapy treatment led to lower OS and CSS in both groups .3). However, the multivariate Cox model revealed that radiotherapy had an adverse effect on cervical cancer patients diagnosed before menopause , whereas it was beneficial to patients who were diagnosed at or post-menopause .
Survival curves in cervical cancer patients according to radiotherapy stratified by age at diagnosis. Overall survival of younger group, 2=2867.453, P< .001. Cause-specific survival of younger group, 2=2815.305, P< .001. Overall survival of older group, 2=920.560, P< .001. Cause-specific survival of older group, 2=897.282, P< .001.
If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Head Or Neck
People who get radiation to the head and neck might have side effects such as:
- Soreness in the mouth or throat
How to care for your mouth during treatment
If you get radiation therapy to the head or neck, you need to take good care of your teeth, gums, mouth, and throat. Here are some tips that may help you manage mouth problems:
- Avoid spicy and rough foods, such as raw vegetables, dry crackers, and nuts.
- Dont eat or drink very hot or very cold foods or beverages.
- Dont smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol these can make mouth sores worse.
- Stay away from sugary snacks.
- Ask your cancer care team to recommend a good mouthwash. The alcohol in some mouthwashes can dry and irritate mouth tissues.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt and soda water every 1 to 2 hours as needed.
- Sip cool drinks often throughout the day.
- Eat sugar-free candy or chew gum to help keep your mouth moist.
- Moisten food with gravies and sauces to make it easier to eat.
- Ask your cancer care team about medicines to help treat mouth sores and control pain while eating.
If these measures are not enough, ask your cancer care team for advice. Mouth dryness may be a problem even after treatment is over. If so, talk to your team about what you can do.
How to care for your teeth during treatment
Radiation treatment to your head and neck can increase your chances of getting cavities. This is especially true if you have dry mouth as a result of treatment.
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Is Implant Placement Painful
Implants are typically placed when youre under general anesthesia. That means that youll be asleep for the procedure and wont feel anything.
When you wake up after implant placement, you may feel discomfort or pressure in your pelvic area. Youll be given a pain medication to help ease these symptoms, particularly if youll be staying in the hospital for your treatment.
Heart Or Lung Problems
Some women experience lung inflammation years after radiation therapy. This is especially true if they have also had chemotherapy. If there is significant heart exposure because of left breast radiation, in some cases injury to the heart can occur, causing heart conditions or heart disease. This is not as common these days, thanks to greater understanding of this potential link.
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Managing The Side Effects Of Chemotherapy
The most common side effects of chemotherapy include:
- An increased likelihood of bruising and infection
Anti-nausea medications are commonly used to help prevent vomiting during cervical cancer treatment. Steroids can be used to address a loss of appetite and blood transfusions can be used to reduce the likelihood of infection and bleeding. Over-the-counter oral medications can also make mouth sores less painful.
Surgery For Cervical Cancer
A majority of cervical cancer patients undergo surgery, and there are a few different types that may be used for treatment.
For precancers , a surgical procedure called conization may be used. A surgeon may remove abnormal cells or tissue with a scalpel or through other methods such as laser surgery or a procedure called loop electrosurgical excision procedure . LEEP utilizes a loop of thin wire heated by electricity and laser surgery uses intense beams of light to remove a tumor or surface lesion.
Besides those used to treat precancers, the main types of surgery for cervical cancer are:
- Simple or radical hysterectomies
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How Is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed And Treated
Cervical cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
If your doctor says that you have cervical cancer, ask to be referred to a gynecologic oncologista doctor who has been trained to treat cancers of a womans reproductive system. This doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan.
The extent of disease is referred to as the stage. Information about the size of the cancer or how far it has spread is often used to determine the stage. Doctors use this information to plan treatment and to monitor progress.
What Is A Late Effect
A late effect is a side effect that is caused by cancer treatment but happens months to years after cancer treatment has finished. Some side effects that you develop during treatment can last for months to years after treatment is completed . These are called long-term side effects.
Late effects can be health issues or psychological, emotional, and practical challenges.
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Side Effects Of Chemotherapy For Cervical Cancer
Chemo drugs kill cancer cells but also damage some normal cells, which can lead to certain side effects. Side effects depend on the type and dose of the drugs and the length of time you are treated. Many side effects are short-term and go away after treatment is finished, but some can last a long time or even be permanent. It’s important to tell your health care team if you have any side effects, as there are often ways to lessen them.
Common short term side effects of chemotherapy can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
Because chemotherapy can damage the blood-producing cells of the bone marrow, the blood cell counts might become low. This can result in:
- An increased chance of infection from a shortage of white blood cells
- Bleeding or bruising after minor cuts or injuries because of a shortage of blood platelets
- Shortness of breath or fatigue due to low red blood cell counts
When chemo is given with radiation, the side effects are often more severe. The nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, and problems with low blood counts are often worse.
Your health care team will watch for side effects and can give you medicines to help prevent them or treat them to help you feel better. For example, you can be given drugs to help prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting.
Long-term side effects of chemotherapy can include:
For more information, please see Chemotherapy.
Radiation Therapy & Chemotherapy For Cervical Cancer
We treat many cases of cervical cancer with surgery alone. However, there are women with disease that has started to spread, or who have tumors with high-risk features, for which we recommend additional measures such as radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy, a systemic treatment that kills cancer cells nearly everywhere in the body.
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How Can I Feel Better During Cervical Cancer Treatment
Youâre probably so focused on getting well, you hardly have time to think about how to ease the side effects from your treatments like hair loss or changes in your appetite. But there are things you can do that can help you feel better.
Manage your nutrition and weight. Making good food choices during treatment can help you feel better, tolerate side effects, lower your chances of infection, and even heal faster. Try to eat a variety of foods so you get the nutrients you need, including:
- Vitamins and minerals
Plant-based foods are a good source of vitamins and minerals. You should try to eat at least 2.5 cups of colorful fruits and vegetables daily, including citrus. Try new foods too, like beans, and keep high-fat foods from animals to a minimum.
Snacking throughout the day can help you get extra protein and calories to heal and keep your weight stable. Try to keep protein-rich snacks like yogurt, eggs, or cheese and crackers with you during the day. If you have side effects like sore throat or diarrhea, avoid snacking on acidic foods that can make them worse.
Exercise. Your treatment program may make you feel extra tired, and exercise probably seems impossible. But even doing a small amount can have tons of benefits. It can help you stay strong, improve your appetite and energy, and help you feel less stressed or depressed.
Talk with your doctor about what exercise makes sense for you, and pay attention to how you feel when moving your body.
Cervical Cancer And The Tragedies It Brings
YAZA AfricaThey say that when it rains it pours, and this has been the case with Lucy Atieno. She went through three different corrective surgeries after she suffered from fistula for two years, and then she had a disc prolapse that saw her go through a spine surgery, and before she could fully recuperate, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer after months of acute discomfort and one misdiagnosis after the other.Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.I am jobless at the moment. Q: What happened to your job?Q: I am so sorry about that. When were you diagnosed with cervical cancer?Q: Tell me about the diagnosis. How did it come to be? Q: How did you move forward from there? Q: For how long did you receive treatment at Texas Cancer Center?Q: Is that the period when you lost your job?Q: Were you compensated in any way?Q: Did the job enable you to afford your treatment or how were you able to pay for it?surviving on people’s contributionsQ: What was the most challenging part of the treatment?Q: Was your husband supportive of you when you were going through treatment?Q: Has your marriage survived that? husband married another woman walked out of my marriageQ: How did you find out he had married someone else? I went back home in DecemberQ: What are you struggling the most with right now besides the end of your marriage?Q: How can society be more helpful to people with cancer?