22 January 2019
Q&A with Our Specialist
This week is Cervical Cancer Awareness week. We speak to Robin Crawford, a Consultant Gynaecologist and Gynae-oncologist here at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital about Cervical Cancer and the options available if you have been diagnosed.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is a cancer of the entrance to the womb or the cervix. It is caused in over 99% of cases by human papilloma virus (HPV).
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is rare nowadays. Women usually have symptoms of irregular bleeding or smelly discharge. The good news is that it is usually picked up before it becomes a cancer by the cervical screening programme and your regular cervical smear check. This is why it is crucial to have regular tests. Cervical abnormalities are more frequent in women who smoke.
How is it diagnosed?
Cancer is usually diagnosed by a Colposcopy. Biopsies or small bites of tissue are taken and sent to the laboratory. Usually the cervical screening programme will detect an abnormality when you have no symptoms. This means we can use treatment for cure which has fewer side effects. Most of the treatment of cervical abnormalities which are detected by the cervical screening programme are done in outpatients at Spire Cambridge Lea, including Colposcopy and assessment or loop excision treatment (LLetz).
What treatments are available?
Treatments for pre-cancer are usually excisional and can be done often in outpatients. If a definite cervix cancer is diagnosed then treatments may be more invasive including radical surgery or chemoradiotherapy. Nowadays the outcomes are very good but the outcomes from treating a pre-cancer patient are even better. The HPV vaccination, which I offer at Cambridge Lea, greatly reduces the risk of catching cervical cancer and other cancers associated with HPV.
If you would like to find out more about the treatments available or to book an appointment to discuss further call our team on 01223 266900.