Recurrent Cervical Cancer – Cervical cancer is diagnosed in 6% of all cancer cases that afflict women in the US every year. It accounts for almost 16,000 yearly cases of invasive carcinoma of the cervix, not to mention that there are 500,000 new cases of pre-invasive cancers detected every year. These are also known as dysplasia and may you be so lucky as to detect the abnormality in that stage, as it is 100% curable.
Fortunately, this has been the case for most women at risk of developing cancer and this is mostly due to the increased use of screening methods like the Pap test.
This test has helped reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in the last decades and, since 1940, with its help, the probability for a woman to develop cervical cancer has dropped from 1.1% to 0,7%.
The cancer usually develops from pre-existent lesions of the cervix and mutation in the cells as well as their uncontrolable growth and spread eventually lead to the formation of a tumor. This tumor can go deeper into the tissue or even spread to other parts of the body. Treatment is established according to the stage of the cancer and also prognosis is also mainly given by the stage.
Treatments can range from surgery to adjuvant therapy such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These sometimes just count as palliative therapy but in earlier stages they can prevent the cancer from relapsing by being administered after surgery, to ensure all cancerous cells are dead.
However, cancer may still sometimes relapse, especially if you are not consistent with your follow-up treatment. This can also only become obvious even years after your first cancer. Symptoms of recurrent cervical cancer can include pain in the pelvis, vaginal discharge with blood, back pain, pain in the legs, leg swelling, persistent cough and weight loss.
Cervical cancer is most likely to recur in the vagina, pelvis, lymph nodes, the liver or the lung. Treatment can vary greatly from case to case as there can be many different locations for the recurrence and many different degrees of severeness. It also depends on the treatment the patient got the first time. For example, if radiation wasn’t given previously, external beam radiation can be used to treat recurrent cervical cancer in the pelvis.
In this confined condition, chemotherapy and interstitial radiation therapy might also be helpful. If radiation was given before there’s only one thing you can do and that is the removal of the vagina, uterus, bladder or the rectum, the five year survival rate after this procedure going no higher than 50%.
Chemotherapy can also work for women with inoperable tumors. If they have an unresectable pelvic disease, re-radiation is possible as well as arterial chemotherapy. You’re oncologist is the most qualified to tell you which procedure is best for your case.