These days, a lot of women delay having a baby. Cervical cancer can develop as a result of this before conception. Infertility is a common side effect of several therapies. Cervical cancer and pregnancy, however, both have options. Some women can still conceive if they want to protect their fertility. Fertility can be affected by cancer therapies, making it difficult or impossible to imagine. This is especially true in the case of cervical cancer treatment. If you wish to retain your fertility, some women can still get pregnant. You can take action to protect and preserve your fertility.
Cervical Cancer Screening: How Important Is It?
Cervical cancer develops slowly in the body, which can be detected and treated with frequent testing. Its fatalities in the United States have decreased by 2% each year since the discovery and widespread use of the pap test.
Cervical cancer screening looks for abnormalities in the cervix’s cells. A pap test and/or HPV testing are frequently part of the screening process. A pap test entails reclining down on an exam table while the doctor opens your vaginal canal with a speculum. The doctor next scrapes a sample of cells from your cervix with a brush and a spatula. This operation is usually painless; however, it might be uncomfortable.
How Can you Preserve your Fertility While Suffering from Cervical Cancer?
The patients need to get a Pap smear every year. Cervical cancer is detected with a Pap smear. A pelvic exam is frequently performed in conjunction with a Pap smear. The Pap test may be paired with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to cervical cancer, in women over 30. If women don’t have their routine Pap smear screening and cervical cancer isn’t identified early enough, treatment may need a hysterectomy, making them completely infertile.
How is the Pap test performed?
To widen the vagina, a speculum is inserted. The cells from the cervix are then collected using a brush introduced into the vagina. A microscope is used to look for signs of sickness in the cells.
The cervix, the top section of the vagina, and the surrounding supportive tissues are all removed during a radical trachelectomy. Lymph nodes in the pelvis are frequently dismissed as part of the procedure to see if cancer has spread beyond the cervix.
How is a Radical trachelectomy performed?
With a trachelectomy, you have a few options for surgery. Vaginal or abdominal surgery and robotic or minimally invasive surgery are examples of these options. Furthermore, most surgeons employ a belly button incision or a series of smaller incisions. They also use minimally invasive techniques to execute this procedure. In addition, this preserves the uterus while preventing cervical cancer. The process is mentioned in the below steps:
- The uterus is dissected while the surgeon holds the blood supply.
- They separate the cervix and uterus.
- To secure the uterus for fertility, a cerclage stitch is inserted around the base.
- The uterus is rebuilt to the top of the vaginal canal by the surgeon.
Can pregnancy be affected by cervical abnormalities?
The intensity of the cell alteration determines whether you require treatment before trying to conceive. It is safe to conceive for women with low-grade abnormalities who have had their Pap smears done recently. Women with high-grade abnormalities should first consult their doctor about their alternatives. This is because some treatments can make a pregnancy more difficult. Because cone biopsies and LEEP/LLETZ damage the cervix, there is a negligible risk of early birth, miscarriage, and labor trouble. Most women have healthy pregnancies and babies after receiving either treatment. However, it’s still a good idea to talk to your doctor about it before getting either therapy or if you’re planning to get pregnant after receiving either treatment. It’s also possible that you’ll have to wait several months before trying to conceive.
Is it possible to get pregnant after cervical cancer?
Yes. After a trachelectomy, the pregnancy rates are highly encouraging, with over 70% of women attaining pregnancy once or twice. Some patients may require aid with reproduction. They may need in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination, for example. In these circumstances, it is critical to consult a reproductive specialty physician who can guide the journey. In addition, patients will need to deliver via cesarean surgery due to the permanent cerclage put at the base of the uterus to avoid premature delivery. Over 57% of patients did not try to conceive after the surgery for various reasons.
How Can Cervical Cancer Treatment Affect Fertility?
Both chemotherapy and radiation can have an impact on fertility. You will not be able to carry a baby if a hysterectomy has removed your uterus (womb). And if your ovaries are removed at the same time, you will no longer be able to produce eggs. When you have radiation therapy for cervical cancer, high-energy beams focus on your pelvis to eliminate malignant cells. These radiations might damage or cause some or all of the eggs to be destroyed, leading to early menopause.
Furthermore, due to scarring and restricted blood supply to the uterus, women who have had their uterus exposed to radiation have a higher chance of miscarriage and early births. Precancer treatment might damage the cervix and affect a woman’s capacity to carry the pregnancy to term.
Cervical stenosis is a problem that occurs when tissue is left behind and scars shut. Sperm and egg are unable to meet because of this situation. When too much cervical tissue is removed, the cervix weakens, resulting in cervical incompetence, a condition in which the cervix might open painlessly, even without contractions, and lead to miscarriage in the second or early third trimester. Another risk is that removing too many cervical glands required for sperm passage via the cervix to the uterus can cause sperm to dry out and become infertile.
In the End
Cervical cancer is the most challenging malignancy to treat during pregnancy since the uterus is involved. On this subject, there are still many unanswered questions and debates. The facts and the unknowns should be communicated with the pregnant patient for her to make an informed decision. We encourage patients to be sent to treatment centers that have experience treating cancer during pregnancy. University Cancer Centers excel at cervical cancer treatment by offering the most effective therapies, individualized and compassionate. At University Cancer Centers, we recognize that your past experiences will influence your future health. As a result, our center’s great team will be available frequently to assess the efficacy of your medications and cancer treatment team. So, our primary goal is to cure the condition and provide the best treatment at University Cancer Centers.