Cervical cancer is the second most common and the most lethal malignancy in women worldwide. Over 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer occur worldwide each year. In the United States, over 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually.
Infection with high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of invasive cervical cancer in most women. HPV16 and 18 are the most common types that can cause cervical cancer. They can be prevented by proper vaccination, and the majority of sexually active women exposed to HPV, can clear the infection without any intervention.
A Pap smear is the primary detection method for asymptomatic precancerous and cancerous cells/tumors. Because treatment can often be instituted in the precancerous phase and early cancer stage, Pap smears have resulted in dramatic reductions in deaths from cervical cancer.
Larger, invasive carcinomas often have symptoms or signs including spotting after intercourse, bleeding between menstrual periods, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. Vaginal discharge may also be a symptom. Pelvic or low back pain can be seen with invasion of tumor into pelvic nerves and are signs of late-stage disease. Likewise, flank pain from hydronephrosis (backing up of urine) from ureteral compression or deep vein blood clots from vascular compression suggests either extensive disease in lymph nodes or direct extension of the primary tumor to other areas of the pelvis.
Treatment for cervical cancer will vary depending on the type and the extent of spread. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, or a combination of, are the most common options. Hyperthermia can be used to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy or chemotherapy without significant increase in side effects.
The application of hyperthermia to a tumor can have numerous positive effects on cancer cells. Heat disrupts cell membranes and increases blood flow to the tumor, making the tumor more sensitive and vulnerable both to your body’s natural immune defenses and to other cancer therapies.
Research has demonstrated that hyperthermia when combined with radiation therapy, increases the likelihood of a complete response in cervical cancers by nearly 50%. Hyperthermia can be added to cervical cancer treatment plan at any time.
Optimally, hyperthermia treatment is initiated as soon as the patient begins receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Improving your therapeutic regimen leads to the best outcome.
For all patients, the goal is to choose the right therapy or combination of therapies that lead to the best outcome while minimizing side effects. Hyperthermia often has no or minimal side effects and has no known adverse effects on normal tissue. Adding hyperthermia can maximize the effectiveness of your therapeutic regimen without risking sensitive surrounding organs.