Dr. Magtibay shares if women can survive cervical cancer and describes new treatment options available for those diagnosed.
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Cervical Cancer Survival and Treatment Options Cervical cancer is not new. It’s actually the second leading cause of cancer death in the world. Fortunately, in developed countries since the advent of the Papanicolaou smear our rates of cervical cancers have dramatically reduced, and approximately 12,000 women in the United States will develop cervical cancer a year with approximately 4,000 deaths, which is a small number in comparison to the cervical cancer deaths worldwide. There’s a number of and wide variety of research projects that have recently been published and are still being looked at across the United States including here at Mayo Clinic, Arizona. One, for example, are the minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as the radical trachelectomy that can be performed using the robot or Da Vinci System where we remove the cervix and the lymph nodes, but yet allow the women to be able to carry a pregnancy, so that’s one major advancement. Second is the utilization of combination chemoradiation therapy and surgery. At Mayo Clinic in Arizona, we are the only institution in the Southwest that has intraoperative radiation therapy. With intraoperative radiation therapy, what I do as a surgeon as I go in and I resect these tumors that at many places believe are unresectable and incurable. I will go in surgically and remove that tumor and if there’s any tumor left along the sidewall or at close vital areas, I can actually do radiation right in the operating room. One of the problems with radiation therapy is that you have many side effects because as you are giving it and delivering it externally the normal tissue surrounding the cancer itself get affected as well and have their radiation effects and problems associated with that. With intraoperative radiation therapy, surgically I go on and I move those vital organs out of the way, and all that I have left is the cancer bed that may have some microscopic cancer left in it. I can then do radiation right in the operating room pointing it directly at that cancer bed bypassing all the normal tissue and hopefully improve a patient survival and cure that patient that is otherwise incurable.