Attention Laurel Patients:  The new Laurel office is open. The address is 7140 Contee Road, Suite 3500, Laurel, MD 20707….Attention Lanham Patients: Our new Largo office will be opening Monday,  June 17th and our Lanham location will be closed permanently. Largo’s address is 9333 Healthcare Way Suite 4100 Largo, MD 20774.

Understanding Your Diagnosis: Cervical Cancer [SERIES]

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, a time to shed light on one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. Getting diagnosed with cervical cancer can be overwhelming and life-altering, causing a whirlwind of emotions and questions. In this first installment of our “Understanding Your Diagnosis” series, we aim to provide essential information about cervical cancer, its diagnosis, treatment options, and what comes next. 

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that connects to the vagina. It is primarily caused by persistent infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer develops slowly, often beginning with pre-cancerous changes that can be detected through regular screenings such as Pap smears. Receiving a cervical cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering moment. 

Understanding what the diagnosis entails is crucial for making informed decisions about your health. Here’s what you need to know:

Staging

Cervical cancer is staged to determine the extent of its spread. The stages range from 0 to IV, with higher stages indicating more advanced cancer. Staging helps your healthcare team determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Treatment Options

Surgery: Surgery is often the first-line treatment for early-stage cervical cancer. It may involve removing the tumor, the cervix (radical hysterectomy), or even the uterus (total hysterectomy). Lymph nodes in the pelvis may also be removed to check for cancer spread.

Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells. It can be used alone or in combination with surgery.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop their growth. It can be administered before or after surgery, or in combination with radiation therapy.

Targeted Therapy: This is a newer approach that targets specific molecules involved in cancer growth. It is often used in advanced cervical cancer in combination with chemotherapy.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. It is an option for some advanced cervical cancer patients.

Your treatment plan will depend on factors such as the stage of cancer, your overall health, and your preferences. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine the best approach.

Related: Navigating the Challenges: Practical Tips for Managing Cancer Treatment Symptoms

Coping with a Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be emotionally overwhelming. Here are some tips for coping with a cervical cancer diagnosis.

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is empowering. Learn as much as you can about cervical cancer, its treatment options, and potential side effects. Being informed can help reduce anxiety.

Seek Support

Reach out to friends, family, and support groups. Talking to others who have gone through a similar experience can provide emotional support and practical advice.

Related: The Power of Support: Building a Strong Cancer Survivor Network 

Manage Symptoms

Cancer treatment can cause side effects such as fatigue and nausea. Work closely with your healthcare team to manage these symptoms and maintain your quality of life.

Mental Health Matters

Don’t hesitate to seek counseling or therapy if you’re struggling with the emotional toll of your diagnosis. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as physical health.

Taking Your Cancer Journey With Maryland Oncology Hematology 

A cervical cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly life-changing, but it doesn’t have to define your life. With advancements in medical treatments and early detection, many women can overcome cervical cancer and lead fulfilling lives. This Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, let’s remember that knowledge is power. Understanding your diagnosis, seeking support, and making informed decisions are crucial steps on your journey toward recovery. We are here to support you during your cancer journey, contact our team today