About Cervical Carcinoma in Situ
The National Cancer Institute estimates that one in 147 women will develop cervical cancer at some point in their lives. Furthermore, it is estimated that 12,170 women will be diagnosed with this cancer in 2012, while 4,220 women will lose their lives to it. Thankfully, this number is much less than it was just a decade ago. This is thanks in part to better testing, more knowledge about the disease, and increased awareness in different populations.
There are five stages that accompany the diagnosis of cancer of the cervix. Stage 0 is often referred to as carcinoma in situ. In this case, the cancer has only invaded the outer lining of the cervix. Cancer at stage 0 is considered ‘non-invasive’ because it has not spread to any other parts of the female anatomy.
Fortunately, the woman who receives a diagnosis of stage 0 cervical cancer has many treatment options. In addition, the survival rate for cancer at this stage is nearly 100 percent. Of course, each person with this diagnosis is unique and these unique situations will likely dictate the treatment options.
One of the most common treatments for the women with stage 0 cancer of the cervix is cryosurgery. In this procedure, the outer lining of the cervix is frozen using liquid nitrogen. This procedure is virtually painless and is generally performed in the physician’s office.
Rather than using a knife to cut the cancerous cells from the cervix, laser surgery is used to burn the lining off. In addition, pieces of the cervix can be removed with the laser to evaluate at a later date. Laser surgery is also performed in an office setting and has little to no pain.
LEEP is the most invasive procedure performed in an office setting. LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure. In this procedure, local anesthetic is used to numb the cervix and then a loop-shaped instrument removes the diseased tissue using electricity. There may be some pain associated with this procedure.
Conization is performed when the extent of the cancer is not clearly known. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and needs to be performed in an operating room. Cone shaped pieces of the cervix are removed with either a heated wire or a scalpel, depending on the preference of the surgeon.
Hysterectomy in stage 0 cervical cancer is generally reserved for those who are not planning on having more children. In this instance, the uterus and cervix are removed from the woman. Ovaries can be left in place, which is called a partial hysterectomy, or removed completely, which is known as a complete hysterectomy. This procedure is done in an operating room under general anesthesia. It is the most invasive and painful of all options for stage 0 treatment.
Although most instances of cancer of the cervix effects women between 50 and 70 years of age, it can occur at any time in a woman’s life. Diagnosis and treatment of this disease at stage 0 will ensure the best opportunity for a life without cancer in the years to come. Several treatment options are available, and the most effective treatments should be decided between physician and patient.