I have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, but unfortunately, have to wait another week to have an office visit with an oncologist. I have been reading as much as I can, and I do not understand one issue in particular regarding treatment. I've read several people say that past stage 2, chemo and radiation--not a hysterectomy--is the normal course of action. Why is that? I would think taking out my cervix and uterus would be the simplist solution--especially b/c I am past menopause. I'd actually rather have that than chemo and radiation. Can anyone clear this up for me?
It depends on the size of the tumour and where it has spread. They also consider the type of cancer. I was not a candidate for a hysterectomy as my tumour was greater than 4cm (mine was 8-10cm) and I had lymph node spread.
They told me, that Once it has reached that size there is no difference in outcome between chemoradiation and hysterectomy and chemoradiation alone. But you are more likely to suffer complications from the surgery.
Does that help answer?
As Bexter said, it depends on the size and position of your tumor. Mine was 3.5cm so within the limit for hysterectomy,but because there would not be clear margins due to parametrial invasion, I had to go for chemo rads. To be honest, I am glad it happened that way. Yes it's quite tough to go through but it kicked ass big time, with no ,major surgery.
Yes, that was very helpful. I am thinking the worst, because I took such care with my health. I eat very healthily, exercise regulary, and never smoked or had multiple partners. So, to me, this is a sign that this cancer must be very serious. I read the risk factors, and I have NONE. However, I have not had a pap smear for 10 years, so God knows how long this cancer has been growing.
Wow. I can't imagine chemo being better than surgery. But I think you may be a lot tougher than I am! Thank you for your reply.
It gets easier when you know the plan! The radiation works really well for cervical cancer in most circumstances, and the chemo gives it the boost to help it work better. They spend ages working you up with scans, examinations and biopsies, to get the best possible outcome for you individually. Mine was rushed at the start, as I was haemorraging from the tumour, and needed the radiation to make the sucker behave! That's why I had the extra week at the end to my lymph nodes, which weren't initially included in the planning zone of the first week of treatment! I've had a great response so far to it but just need to wait for the remaining time for it to hopefully work.
Try not to beat yourself up as to why it's happening. It's hard not to! Feel free to vent! Take care xx
How did you know you were hemmorraging from the tumor? Did tests show that? I wonder if that is what is happening to me, b/c bleeding is my only symptom so far. But I had not had a pap smear in 10 years, so I can only imagine how this thing has been growing in me.
I had some irregular bleeding prior and some clots, but it progressed to haemorraging which needed the radiation to stop. It was impossible to miss. Tranexamic acid infusions, tablets of the same, theatre for packs, 8 bags of blood and a iron infusion later. I honestly was so scared, as there was nothing I could do to stop it. I started the radiation which slowed it and eventually completely stopped it. Ironically, I kind of felt better as I went on with treatment as I was so sick when I started. My HB got down to 48.
Praying for a positive outcome for your PET scan. Thank you for your reply, and please keep me updated.
All the best with your treatment! You really do feel better when they give you a plan for your treatment! Suddenly, it's seems a little easier to handle. Let me know how you go! The other girls here are great for advice. It gives you a platform to talk things through with others that understand.
sorry to hear about your diagnosis as it's such a crazy thing to wrap your mind around. You wonder, gee I did everything right, didn't smoke, ate well, etc.... yet here you are. Please don't dwell on this as sometimes it is as simple as your hormones making changes that go out of control. As much as you read online there is still much that is not available as studies that are newer and more accurate. Please be very careful when reading online info as much of it is outdated and not specific to you.
Ok, so you don't know exactly where you are in staging and you will have many tests and scans and everyone up there to have a look. This doesn't mean they think it's very advanced or that it is an extreme case. We all go through these tests as they have to be very careful they do not miss anything.
Next, to answer your question... so there is much more involved in a radical hysterectomy then a normal hysterectomy. Pls look up the differences. If the cancer is too big or has spread even microscopically out of the cervix area then doing surgury and finding this out while you are cut open means they will abandon the surgury or when the pathogology comes back with even one microscopic cell or not enough clear margins then you go on to have the chemorad anyway and the chemorad is a lot harder oN Your body as there is no uterus or soft tissue or cervix there to protect your other organs and you will have a higher chance of having long term side effects from the radiation.
The chemoradiation also gives a bit of insurance that if a tiny microscopic cell is anywhere else that cannot be seen on a scan then it will get killed from the radiation as they will do this on your whole pelvis. If any lymphnodes are involved then part of the planning in the radiation will target these areas as well not just the tumour. I had an extra 5 boosts added on to my parametrial area to insure this area had a bit more target.
The chemo is not one that will make you loose your hair and the worst side effect during treatment seems to be diarrhea and fatigue. I wasn't that tired but my bowels became very loose. Everyone is different.
Try to think positive as this is one of the better cancers to get and has a very high cure rate.
Lolli888--I will try to stay positive, but no promises, lol! This has been a kick in the gut.