If you have been diagnosed and treated for cervical cancer, you clearly understand the necessity of being proactive in dealing with this serious illness. Although the recurrence of cervical cancer is clearly undesired, you must be on the lookout for signs of this ever-impending threat to your long-term health.
Cervical cancer originates in the cervix, which is the lower portion of the uterus. The vast majority of the time, early cervical cancer has no overt symptoms. When they appear, however, they manifest as pain, vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding or heavier periods. Cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women.
While the treatment for cervical cancer varies depending on the specifics of your case, there are a number of different ways to combat it. Typical treatments involve the use of electricity, cryotherapy or laser therapy to remove cancer cells. Additionally, a hysterectomy, or the surgical removal of the uterus, is a common procedure. Radiation and chemotherapy also are viable options for treatment.
Recurring Cervical Cancer
If cervical cancer reappears after successful treatment, the prognosis is not positive, so it is extremely important to be alert for signs of recurrence. Signs include vaginal discharge; localized pain in the hips, lower back or legs; unexpected weight loss; and persistent coughing.
If you experience any of the signs or symptoms of recurrence, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Being considered a hypochondriac is a small price to pay for being hypervigilant about detecting the re-emergence of cervical cancer before any real damage is done. Pain in the hips, back, or legs might indicate that the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, so there is no time to waste.
Treatment for Recurrence
In many cases, treatment for a second bout of cervical cancer is far more thorough than the first round. It may involve removal of the entire reproductive area, including the ovaries and vagina. Radiation therapy cannot be safely performed twice, so if you received radiation therapy during your first cervical cancer treatment, another course of action will have to be considered. Chemo is usually the treatment of choice in these cases.