Cervical Cancer during Pregnancy can be detrimental to the health of the expectant mother and her foetus. Resorting to cervical cancer treatment depends on the stage of cancer and pregnancy.
Cervical cancer (cancer of the cervix) during pregnancy does not harm the foetus, but its treatment may lead to serious conditions, such as preterm labour or preterm delivery. In very rare cases, cervical cancer treatment may cause miscarriage.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer during Pregnancy
• Watery or bloody vaginal discharge, which may produce a foul smell
• Loss of appetite
• Unintentional weight loss
• Urination problems
• Increased fatigue and nausea
• Pain in the cervix
• Pain during/after sexual intercourse.
When will the doctor treat Cervical Cancer during Pregnancy?
• If cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, your oncologist may recommend treating it after your baby’s birth, but you will be regularly monitored for cancer throughout your pregnancy.
• If cervical cancer is at its advanced stage, the cancerous tissue must be removed. While doing so, pregnancy is maintained and techniques are used to shave off cancerous cells resting on the cervix. This increases the risk of preterm delivery.
• If cancer is found to be in the most advanced stage, it is treated at the expense of the baby.
• If cancer is diagnosed in the last trimester of pregnancy, doctors may advise the patient to wait until the delivery, however, if the cancer is discovered in the first trimester, doctors generally do not suggest waiting for six long months for treatment due to the risk of cancer metastasis.
Cope with Cervical Cancer during Pregnancy
Take Medical Help— If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer during any stage of pregnancy, you need to possess a support team to fight it. Your support team must consist of your gynaecologist, cancer specialist, surgeon and pathologist. The course of treatment to which you’ll resort to and its duration depends on factors, such as the stage of cancer, gestational age, personal beliefs, family support and your current age. Cancer and its treatment lead the patient to enter an emotional turmoil, especially during pregnancy when it becomes more difficult. In this situation, visiting a counsellor can pose to be a great deal of help.
Review Options to Treat Early Stages of Cervical Cancer— Immediately after the diagnosis of cervical cancer, the expecting woman should undergo certain diagnostic tests to determine the spread of cancer and its stage. These diagnostic tests are safe for the foetus. The early detection of cancer can aid in early removal of cancerous tissue by a surgical procedure called a cone biopsy, though there are chances of miscarriage in this surgery.
Weigh Actions for Advanced Stages— If during the early months of pregnancy, a pregnant woman is diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer, the doctors may advise abortion. Making this decision can be an emotional setback for the pregnant woman and her family, however, it is important for the expecting mother’s overall well-being. If the expectant mother is diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer in the second or last trimester of pregnancy, doctors may advise her to go for a caesarean section at the earliest.
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