Screening for Cervical Cancer
Health experts suggest that women begin screening for cervical cancer at age 21. If the Pap smear or HPV test detects abnormal results, an OB/GYN will suggest additional lab testing to rule out cervical cancer. The doctor typically orders a punch biopsy or endocervical curettage to examine the cervical tissue cells. If these steps show abnormal results and the patient is interested in maintaining their fertility, the doctor (usually a gynecologic oncologist) will order a cone biopsy to reach a diagnosis (American Cancer Society, 2021)
After reaching a diagnosis, the doctor suggests even more tests to determine the stage of the cancer (Mayo Clinic, 2021). The stage of the cancer ultimately determines what treatment plan the patient and doctor follow, whether that be a surgery like a radical trachelectomy, radiation, or chemotherapy.
What is Radical Trachelectomy
A radical trachelectomy is a surgery done to remove the cervix, nearby tissue, and lymph nodes, and the upper part of the vagina (NIH, n.d.) to treat cervical cancer. For early-stage cervical cancer, a healthcare provider may recommend a trachelectomy to remove the cervix and surrounding tissue while keeping the uterus intact. A radical trachelectomy may give the patient the chance to maintain fertility and carry out a pregnancy, which is not possible if the uterus is removed (Mayo Clinic, 2021).
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-Written by Sabrina Park MPH