Diagnosis and Treatment of Stage II Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is typically diagnosed after abnormalities are found on a pap test, and a biopsy of the cervix reveals a cancerous growth. When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, part of the diagnosis is determining the stage of cancer. Staging is an important part of the process because it helps physicians and patients understand the severity of cancer, and it also dictates the course of treatment.
Like other forms of cancer, this type of cancer has four stages. In general, Stage II is diagnosed when the cancer has invaded the cervix, uterus and/or upper vagina, but has not progressed beyond those organs or the surrounding area. More specifically, Stage 2A1 is for tumors that are less than four centimeters, while Stage 2A2 is for tumors larger than four centimeters. Both 2A stages have not spread into the tissues next to the cervix. Individuals diagnosed with Stage 2B may have any size tumor, but cancerous cells can be found in the tissue next to the cervix. However, the cancer has not spread beyond that region.
The five-year survival rates for Stage 2A and 2B cervical cancer are 63% and 58%, respectively. These statistics take into account all types of cervical cancer. More common types typically have a better prognosis, whereas rarer types tend to be more aggressive and have a poorer prognosis.
The most common course of treatment for Stage 2 is a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. To reduce the chance of recurrence and increase the possibility that all the cancer has been removed, a complete hysterectomy is often recommended. During the hysterectomy, nearby lymph nodes are collected. Cancer easily spreads to the lymph nodes and their removal can help physicians determine if the cancer may have spread further than originally thought.
The combination of chemotherapy and radiation is recommended. An individual may be scheduled for chemotherapy and radiation before or after a hysterectomy. Furthermore, radiation treatment may be internal, external, or both. This combination of treatment can be very effective, but it can also have drastic, long-term side effects. Before beginning treatment, patients should make an effort to fully understand what they should expect from treatment.