By Josh Fischman
Cervical Cancer Treatment
By Josh Fischman
Cervical cancer stage and treatment, as Paige Anderson learned, go together. That’s because both are determined by the spread of the cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, these are the five main stages, most of which can be further subdivided based on the size and location of the tumor.
Stage 0 is a superficial, microscopic cancer confined to the top layers of the cervix. Treatment options include cryosurgery (freezing), laser surgery or LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision, using a thin wire heated by electric current). Five-year survival rates are almost 100 percent.
Stage I has invaded deeper layers of the cervix, but no place else. Some of these cancers are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Options include a simple hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), radical hysterectomy (removal of uterus and adjoining tissues) and lymph node removal, or high-dose radiation. Five-year survival rates range from 80 to 95 percent.
Stage II has spread beyond the cervix to nearby areas in the upper part of the vagina and other nearby tissue, called parametrial tissue. Options include high-dose radiation along with chemotherapy, a combination of external and internal radiation, or radical hysterectomy along with removal of parts of the vagina and lymph nodes. Five-year survival rates range from 75 to 78 percent.
Stage III has spread to the lower part of the vagina or up to the wall of the pelvis. Options include internal and external radiation combined with chemotherapy. Five-year survival rates range from 47 to 50 percent.
Stage IV has spread to other organs and parts of the body. If the cancer has only reached the nearby bladder or rectum, treatment options are the same as for stage III. If cancer has spread further, radiation or chemotherapy is given to shrink tumors and relieve some symptoms. Five-year survival rates range from 20 to 30 percent.
There are clinical trials testing newer drug combinations for advanced cancers. Information about them is available at www.clinicaltrials.gov.