Problems of the Cervix (the Opening of the Womb) 379
If a screening test shows that you have pre-cancer, or cancer,
you need treatment. Treatment for pre-cancer is simple, using
methods that remove or destroy the abnormal tissue.
In some places a method called cryotherapy is available, which
freezes the cervix and kills the pre-cancer. Another treatment is
to remove part of the cervix with surgery (cone biopsy).
When cancer is found and treated before it spreads, it can
be cured. If the cancer is only on the cervix, you will need a
hysterectomy (removal of the womb, including the cervix).
If the cancer is found late, and has spread beyond the cervix
to other parts of the body, you may need surgery to remove
the cervix, womb, parts of the vagina, and other parts that the
cancer may have reached. Radiation therapy is very effective at
curing cervical cancer if it has not spread too far.
➤ You may need to
go to a large, special
hospital for cancer
Deaths from cancer of the cervix can be prevented
To reduce the risks for cancer of the cervix by finding and
treating more cancers early, we can:
• learn what increases a woman’s risk, and work together on
finding ways to reduce these risks. It is especially important
for girls to be able to wait until they are grown women
before having sex. All women also need to be able to protect
themselves from STIs, including HIV.
• help women avoid or quit smoking tobacco.
• learn about cancer screening and work to make it more
available. Finding cancer of the cervix early can save lives.
Developing screening programs may seem too costly but
it is cheaper than treatment. Screening programs can help
the most women while costing the least if they:
• target older women. Young women rarely get cancer
of the cervix, and women over 35 are most at risk.
• test as many women as possible, even if this means
testing them less often. Testing all women at risk
every 5 to 10 years will find many more cancers
than testing only some women more often.
• train local health workers in how to do visual
inspection, use cryotherapy, and give Pap tests.
A new vaccine, called ‘HPV vaccine’, to protect youth against cervical cancer
has been developed and is in use in many countries. It must be given to girls
before they start having sexual intercourse. See if it is available where you live.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012