Surgery for cervical cancer

surgical oncology

What is surgery?

Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat cancer, and to manage certain cancer-related symptoms. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss the surgical options that are best suited to your individual needs.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery or not depends on factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other coexisting medical conditions the patient may have.

For many patients, surgery will be combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These nonsurgical treatments may be administered before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) or after surgery (adjuvant therapy) to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage anticipated side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians work together with your surgical oncologist to support healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function when needed, at the time of surgery or following surgery.

Hysterectomy medical animation

Video: Hysterectomy Medical Animation

Medical animation

Surgery for cervical cancer

We may perform a variety of procedures, depending on the type and stage of cervical cancer, as well as your individual fertility concerns.

  • Hysterectomy: During this type of cervical cancer surgery, the uterus and cervix are removed.
  • Radical hysterectomy: For all but a very small percentage of women with early cervical cancer, a radical hysterectomy will be necessary. This involves removing the uterus and cervix, as well as all of the surrounding tissue (the parametria) and the upper part of the vagina. During this cervical cancer surgery, the lymph nodes in the pelvis are also removed. For young women, the ovaries are left behind to preserve ovarian function. For older women, they are removed.
  • Pelvic extenteration: For women with recurrent or advanced cervical cancer, pelvic extenteration may be an option. During this surgery for cervical cancer, the uterus, cervix, vagina, ovaries, bladder, rectum and nearby lymph nodes are removed. Tissue from elsewhere in the body is used to reconstruct the vagina, and urine and stool are passed into external bags.

Addressing fertility concerns

If you want to preserve your fertility, your surgical oncologist may be able to remove only the affected tissue. Patients battling more complex disease may not be candidates for this option. We will discuss a variety of fertility-sparing procedures with you before beginning your personalized treatment plan.

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