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Conservative Surgery for Women with Low-Risk, Early Stage Cervical Cancer

Kathleen Schmeler

4 Collaborator(s)

Funding source

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Although the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased significantly in the United States since the introduction of screening with the Pap test, the disease is still diagnosed in approximately 12,000 American women each year. Furthermore, cervical cancer continues to be the second leading cause of cancer and cancer-related deaths among women in Latin America and the developing world due to a lack of screening. Until screening programs become more widely available to these women, the focus is on the treatment of early-stage disease. The current standard treatment for women with early stage cervical cancer in the United States and abroad consists of a radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection. While this is an effective treatment, it is associated with significant morbidity including bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction. Many of these side effects are due to removal of the parametrium, the tissue adjacent to the cervix that contains autonomic nerve fibers. Moreover, such radical surgery results in loss of fertility for young women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

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