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Cervical Cancer May Not Mean an End for Fertility

Cervical cancer is diagnosed in an estimated 12,900 American women each and every year. For many of these women, the diagnosis comes in the cancer’s earliest phases courtesy of advanced screening protocols that enable doctors to detect the disease readily. While many women will find treatment of the disease demands a loss of fertility by default that is not always the case. Fertility preserving treatments may be used to stop the disease without rendering a woman incapable of carrying a baby to term.

Women diagnosed with cervical cancer during the Stage 1 phase of the disease may find themselves eligible for fertility sparing treatments. It is important for women to understand, however, that this option is only available when the disease is localized and generally is only made available to women under the age of 40. The American Society of Clinical Oncology, in fact, urges that any fertility preserving options be considered as early as possible to ensure proper management of the disease.

Fertility preserving treatments have shown great promise in regard to a low recurrence rate. The key, researchers say, lies in making certain the disease is in its early stage and that tumor growth is limited to lesions smaller than 2 cm without the presence of extracervical spread. Even when this type of procedure is performed instead of a radical hysterectomy, it is recommended that women undergo extensive preoperative counseling. Options such as ovarian tissue harvesting, embryo freezing and gestational surrogacy may also be considered.

The bottom line, doctors say, is that cervical cancer does not necessarily have to dash a woman’s dreams of having a family. When the cancer is caught early, it is sometimes possible to preserve fertility. Women are encouraged to go in for regular Pap exams to screen for cervical cancer and other related concerns. Those who are diagnosed with the disease will want to discuss all treatment options carefully with their healthcare providers.

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