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Cervical Cancer

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Tests:

  • A Pap smear is done during a pelvic exam to check for abnormal cells in the cervix. Cells are collected and tested for cancer or HPV.
  • A colposcopy is a procedure used to look more closely at your cervix and vagina. Your healthcare provider will use a small scope with a light.
  • A biopsy is a small sample of tissue removed from your cervix. The tissue is sent to the lab and tested for cancer. The sample may be taken during a colposcopy or a cervical cone biopsy. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on a cervical cone biopsy.
  • A CT or MRI may show the location and size of the cancer. You may be given contrast liquid to help the cancer show up better in pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

Treatment:

  • Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells with high-energy x-ray beams.
  • Chemotherapy is medicine given to kill cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy is medicine given to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
  • Surgery may be needed to remove the cervical cancer. You may need any of the following types of surgery:
    • Conization is surgery to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from your cervix. An electrical current or a laser may be used to remove the tissue. Tissue removed with an electrical current is also called a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).
    • Hysterectomy is a surgery to remove your uterus. Your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes may also be removed. A radical hysterectomy removes your fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and part of your vagina.
    • Trachelectomy is surgery to remove all or part of your cervix and vagina. Nearby tissues and lymph nodes may also be removed.
    • Pelvic exenteration is surgery to remove the end of your colon, your rectum, and bladder. The cervix, vagina, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes are also removed. You may need a pelvic exenteration if your cervical cancer has spread. Your healthcare provider will also make openings in your skin for urine and bowel movement to leave your body.

RISKS:

Your ovaries may stop working after radiation treatment. You may have problems urinating or having a bowel movement. Sex may be difficult or painful. Cancer may come back, even with treatment. Cervical cancer can spread to other body areas, such as the bladder. You may also develop a blood clot in your arm or leg. This may travel to your heart or lungs and become life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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