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Recently, my wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer (stage 2A). The tumour was considered a bit too big to operate on straight away so her gyneacological oncologist has her on a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy for 6 weeks. The plan after that, if the tumour has shrunk enough, is to conduct a radical hysterectomy and hopefully that will be the end of it.
Last week when we saw her radiotherapy doctor, he said that she would probably not be having surgery as that has unpleasant side effects (a fistula was mentioned). He indicated that after her current treatment she would have a curatron implanted for 24-36 hours and that would essentially be the end of her treatment if all goes to plan. As both my wife and myself were keen on the surgical option, I consulted the gyneacological oncologist and advised him of what we were told. He advised us he is still keen on the surgery option and indicated he is aware of what the radiotherapy doctor is talking about.
Has anybody else out there had any experience with this form of cancer or have any advice to offer please? For info, my wife is 41 and had her last pap smear a little over 12 months ago, which was supposedly normal.
Its a little difficult to give specific advice about your wife's condition, without knowing the full facts of her case.
I guess if I was in you situation I'd be asking some basic questions of your surgeon/cancer team.
have you performed this surgery before? what is your success rate? how often do things go wrong? how can you support your wife to make sure she is as fit as possible prior to surgery? What are the alternatives to surgery?
In the UK we have specialist nurses, who are pretty good at co-ordinating the care of cancer patients, and sometimes are able to approach the experts with the questions you may feel you can't ask. They are called MacMillan nurses. I'm not sure if you have an equivalent in your neck of the woods, but in my experience, they can be very supportive in what must be a difficult time.
Yes, also sorry to hear of the news, but unfortunaely, it is all too common. I'm with Gingernut on the questions that need to be answered. Mrs. RD is a radiation Oncologist, so I have some idea of the options. Please PM me if you want to know some more. RD.
Not exactly the same scenario, but it might be worth talking to the relevant medics about.
I had a similar choice a couple of years ago in relation to prostate issues.
The radiologist said yes, he could do it, but there were a couple of caveats.
The first was that radio therapy can't be certain to get cancer, it can't be aimed with absolute precision to hit a specific area, though they can get very close. There are then implications for anything that's "en route".
The crunch for me was when he said, very openly and bluntly, "You'd be better off going for surgery. If you have radio therapy, and we don't get it all, there's no surgical option, the radio therapy will leave too much scar tissue in the way for successful surgery. If you go the surgical route, and it's not successful, then radiotherapy is a second alternative after surgery"
To me, that left very little doubt about the options. Surgery wasn't going to be an easy one to cope with, it was going to mean a long time off work because of the work I was doing at the time, but there were still options at a later date if they were needed, (and so far, 2 years down the line, they haven't been).
It might be different in this case, but I would suspect that the underlying aspects are going to be very similar.
In passing, I've also heard in recent weeks that a friend of a friend had radiotherapy, as he's older, and has had a lot of problems with side effects from the treatment. While I was off work for 7 months, I was only out of circulation for about 3 weeks before it was possible to do some things again without hassle, though heavy lifting was an issue for several months.
My wife had a hysterectomy about 10 years ago, for similar reasons, and she's made a complete recovery, with no lasting effects.
Hope this helps a little, and good luck which ever route you go for.
I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1996. It was the third time I had the diagnoses in the previous 7 years and was told that it was probably metastised from the original area on the first occasion. I ended up having a radical hysterectomy and part of my stomach was removed too as it showed precancerous cells. The first two times were breast cancer which lumpectomies sorted that out both times or so we thought at the time.
At the beginning of May this year I had a mild heart attack and last Friday I had respiritoy tests and a heartscan today.
Due to my smoking like a dozen chimneys when I drove lorries for a living and when I plyed with towercranes, I paid highly. But despite everything I am still here, albeit a bit short of puff.
My thoughts are with anyone going through this at the moment, most of you won't be going it alone like I did.
Whatever the doctors decide, there is always light at the tunnel's end, no matter how hard it may become to find it.
I truly wish your wife a speedy recovery and I am sure she will be strong and so you will be too.