Radical hysterectomy

A radical hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed when a form of gynecological cancer has been diagnosed. The most common cancer this procedure is used to treat is cervical cancer. The two most common types of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. These types of cancer can be highly invasive and quick to spread to other areas of the body. Surgical removal can be a viable tool in removing cancerous tissue or tumors.

A hysterectomy in general involves removing the uterus surgically for various reasons. A radical hysterectomy is the most involved type of this procedure as it removes much more tissue than the other types of surgical procedures do. This type of procedure is recommended in order to reduce the chances of cancer cell being present in either the lymph nodes or other tissues that are adjacent to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Removing the additional tissue is added insurance against recurrence and metastasis in other organs or tissues.

The cervix is located in the lower portion of the uterus and connects the uterus with the vagina. It also comprises an area in the upper portion of the vagina. In years past it was felt that in order to remove all traces of the cancer that an extended amount of tissue needed to be removed surgically to take care of this problem. In a radical hysterectomy the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, the top of the vagina and a large portion of the supporting tissue that surrounds the uterus in the pelvis is removed surgically. Lymph nodes and the lymph channels that are located in the abdominal area are removed as well to help reduce the chances of cancer spreading to other areas of the body.

The radical hysterectomy was first done in the late 1800’s. It was the procedure of choice for cervical cancer until for years until radiation therapy became more popular. At the time, this procedure had a very high mortality rate and the radiation therapy proposed much less risk to women. In the 1940’s this procedure was modified making it more safe for women. As modern medicine has continued to improve surgical procedures and reduce the risk of incidents while having those procedures, this procedure has once again become a viable option as treatment for cervical cancer today.

As stated above, this procedure was routinely done for cervical cancer when there were not other treatments available that were as effective in treating this type of cancer. This type of procedure is designed for women who have an aggressive form of cervical cancer that has progressed beyond the early stages of the disease. There are other less invasive procedures such as conization of the cervix and radiation therapy that can treat cervical cancer now in its early stages. Radical hysterectomy is a viable option for women who want quick treatment for cervical cancer and do not wish to undergo radiation therapy for their cancer.

Luckily since the 1940’s when The American Cancer Society started recommended that women get regular physicals with pap smears to screen for cervical cancer the death rate due to this disease has steadily declined. Cervical cancer rates have decreased over 70% since then. Now 10,000 cases will be diagnosed on average per year in the United States. Out of that number the morbidity rate is expected to be around 30% for this disease. However when we look at world wide statistics we see that cervical cancer is the second highest cause of death in women of childbearing age. Routine screening is a woman’s best way to prevent cervical cancer. It also allows this disease to be caught in the early stages where it can be successfully treated in most cases.

Any woman who has concerns about cervical cancer should consult with her physician for their recommendation concerning screening tests and treatment options if cancer cells have been found on a pap smear. Every woman should explore their treatment options with their physician or medical professional and research the options available to them prior to having any type of surgery done.

Last updated on Dec 22nd, 2009 and filed under Medical Treatment. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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