Stage III Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer diagnosed as stage III disease is commonly detected from an abnormal Pap smear or pelvic examination or from symptoms caused by the cancer. Following a staging evaluation, a stage III cancer is said to exist if the cancer has extended beyond the cervix to the lower portion of the vagina (stage IIIA), has extended to one or both sides of the pelvis (stage IIIB), or causes a blockage of drainage from the kidneys (stage IIIB). Patients with stage III cervical cancer are generally treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Stage IIB, III and IVA
Radiation therapy given with chemo (concurrent chemoradiation) is the recommended treatment. The chemo is either cisplatin or cisplatin plus fluorouracil (5-FU). The radiation includes both external beam radiation and brachytherapy.
If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes (especially those in the upper part of the abdomen) it can be a sign that the cancer has spread to other areas in the body. Some experts recommend checking the lymph nodes for cancer before giving radiation. One way to do this is by surgery. Another way is to do an imaging study (like MRI or PET/CT) to look at the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes that are bigger than usual and/or light up on PET are more likely to have cancer. Those lymph nodes can be biopsied to see if they contain cancer. If lymph nodes in the upper part of the abdomen (the para-aortic lymph nodes) are cancerous, doctors might want to do other tests to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy can be combined with radiotherapy to try to cure cervical cancer, or it can be used as a sole treatment for advanced cancer to slow its progression and relieve symptoms (palliative chemotherapy).
Chemotherapy involves using either a single chemotherapy medication called cisplatin or a combination of different chemotherapy medications to kill the cancerous cells.
Chemotherapy is usually given using an intravenous drip on an outpatient basis, so you’ll be able to go home once you have received your dose.
As with radiotherapy, these medications can also damage healthy tissue. Side effects are therefore common and can include:
being sick (vomiting)
feeling tired all the time
reduced production of blood cells, which can make you feel tired and breathless (anaemia) and vulnerable to infection because of a lack of white blood cells
loss of appetite
hair loss – your hair should grow back within three to six months of your course of chemotherapy being completed, although not all chemotherapy medications cause hair loss
Some types of chemotherapy medication can damage your kidneys, so you may need to have regular blood tests to assess the health of your kidneys.
Recurrent Cancer . Cervical cancer may recur locally in the lymph nodes near the cervix, it may spread to distant sites, such as the lung or bones, or it may appear both locally and in distant locations. Treatment options depend on where the cancer has recurred. They include:
www.cancer.gov — National Cancer Institute
www.cancer.org — American Cancer Society
www.acog.org — American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
www.ashastd.org — American Social Health Association
www.nccc-online.org — National Cervical Cancer Coalition
www.cervicalcancercampaign.org — Cervical Cancer Public Education Campaign
www.thegcf.org — Gynecologic Cancer Foundation
www.wcn.org — Women’s Cancer Network
www.cancer.net — Cancer.Net