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cervical cancer

oflorida
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2010

I have been diagnosed with 1B1 cervical cancer and am sched for radical hysterectomy. I would like to keep my ovaries. I do not know if nodes are involved yet or not. I had a CT scan and PET scan that were negative. My doctor/surg still may want to do radiation and chemo post op. What are risk/benefit of radiation?? Does pelvic radiation effect the bladder and colon??? and the vagina??? are these long term effects?? Will I always have to use dilators in vagina to stretch the walls or is this just for short time after radiation??? What about surgical menopause?? is that really horrible?? I am 110 pounds and am told that it will be worse for me.
thanks

beckyracn's picture
beckyracn
Posts: 323
Joined: May 2009

oflorida,
Sorry that you've join our group. You have lots and lots of questions...good! That's a great way to head into this journey. You should jot all of these down and take them to your doc. Until then, those of us here can help with some of them.
If your doc decides to do chemo/rads, it best to get them both at the same time to eliminate all residual cancer. They work better together. Radiation does effect everything in it's path. Some side effects appear shortly after starting treatment, while others may start showing up post radiation. Some of them correct themselves and some like to hang on for very long periods. ie: The bladder wall may become thickened, scar tissue and adhesions may form in the pelvic/abd cavity. If you have radiation,yes you will have to use the dilator the rest of your life to prevent scar tissue from filling in your vaginal vault. It may also thicken and shorten. I had internal and external rads, so I'm not sure if you receive only external rads if this applies. I've seen where some women are able to receive hormone treatment to help with surgical menopause if they were not at the age where they would start to go through it naturally. This is something to ask your doc about. I was postmenopausal when I was diagnosed. You will not loose your hair with the chemo you'll get treated with, but it is one of the one's that's known for nausea.
I hope this helps just a little bit. Keep that pad handy and write...write...write down those questions for your next visit to your doc. It's not a bad idea to take someone with you that can focus on the answers for you. You've got a lot on your mind and if anything like me, will forget half of what they tell you. Keep us updated on how your doing.

Muppet
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2010

Hi, Oflorida!

Wanted to give you some "homework" before you have your op. Depending on where you have your operation (geografically, not body-wise), there are options available.

1) You can have your ovaries moved to your upper abdomen while you have radio -- this normally preserves their function;

2) If that is impossible, you can have them "frozen" -- similar to egg-freezing and sperm-frezing;

3) You can look for "advanced" centers and their options -- some radiation techniques are less damaging, some more -- but that I really don't know. I have had my cancer -- 1B1 too, but 8x6mm, treated in cancer centre specialising in fertility-preserving treatments, by means of radical trachelectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy (might be another option?). In that centre chain they had some weird machine for radio, some that makes a tiny beam that only zaps cancer and not as much the surrounding tissue. Somehow I connect it with men, but maybe worth looking it up.

4) There might be no need to remove your ovaries at all!

Best of luck to you in your health and search, let me know if you need help!

sumrluvin66
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2010

Hi Oflorida
I also have a diagnosis of stage 1B1 cervical cancer, my type is adenocarcinoma. I think, if I understand things your options would be different if you have squamous cell cancer. I had a radical hysterectomy in Sept, and I did not have my ovaries removed. Unfortunately, pathology found lymph node involvement, so I am not doing radiation (25 treatments, 5 days a week) and weekly chemo for 5 weeks. This will be a chemically induced menopause, which I wanted to avoid, but what can a girl do. I am 44, so this speeds things up by a tiny bit.

It is my opinion, that I would do the treatment recommended. If it terribly bothers you, you have every right to have a second opinion. They also "Grade" cervical cancers, so I would want to know what your grade is. The grade represents how invasive or aggressive your cancer is. Mine was aggressive, so when I was offered treatment options I opted for a very aggressive treatment. Adenocarcinoma is known to move around the body and if it is graded highly, 3 or 4 I would seriously consider an aggressive treatment just so you know your health, long term health is most primary than other things we worry about.

Treatment options are a big anxiety and worry at least in my experience. The treatments I am in now are doable. I get a little nauseated. The colon and bladder issues are more than likely reversible or recover after time...the rads now days are very precise and they do their best to limit the bad effects of treatment. I vary from constipation to diarrhea, but I understand that it will go more diarrhea in my 3 to 5th week of treatment.

I wish you all of the best. There are other forums online as well, I subscribe to hystersisters and they are wonderful too. Check them out. They have an area for those of us with cancer, and there are a lot of really knowledgeable women there and we all have two cents to share if not just a supportive hug. Best wishes! Jolene

Smvzhouse
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi,

My name is Melissa and I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer about 7 months ago. I didn't have a hysterectomy but I did have chemo and radiation. The effects I had from them were urinary and bowel frequency and toward the end of radiation it felt like I had a uti but they went away. As far as vaginal effects I am in induced menopause which causes vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings and depression ( from being put into menopause so early). There is help for those symptoms I did physical therapy to strengthen my pelvic floor and to help with painful intercourse (it helped) Next my gyno gave me venalafaxine for the hot flashes but I couldn't take it because it made me feel too weird so I'm just keeping my house cold and dealing with them. She also prescribed a hormonal vaginal cream to help with vaginal dryness (havent tried it yet but I've got my fingers crossed) I really hate using lube all the time! The dialators I don't really use any more because I have intercourse with my husband frequently. I just had a pap and it wasn't painful so I suggest either the dialators or frequent intercouse. Other effects were that I feel weak and not up to working out yet but I'm hoping it will just take a little more time. If u have any more questions please feel free to write back. I will send some positive vibes ur way:)

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