Can You Die from Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is common in women. The cervix is the opening of the uterus, which connects the uterus to the vagina. Cervical cancer usually develops very slowly. Abnormal cells will begin to appear before cancer develops. Therefore, it is important for women to do regular checks such as a pap smear to detect abnormal cells.

Can You Die From Cervical Cancer?

Yes, it is possible. In fact, it is estimated that out of 12,990 American women diagnosed with cervical cancer, 4,120 will die this year (2016). Worldwide, more than half a million women end up developing cervical cancer and more than 243,000 die. The 5-year survival rate for women with cervical cancer is 68%, whereas the 10-year survival rate is 64%. The survival rate changes considerably due to many factors such as the stage of the cancer that is diagnosed. Here is more about it:

Stage

Description

5-Year Survival Rate

0

Cancerous cells in the innermost lining of cervix

93%

I

Cervix only

80% to 93%

II

Cancerous cells are outside cervix but not in the lower third area of vagina or pelvic wall.

58% to 63%

III

Cancerous cells are in the lower third area of vagina with kidney problems.

32% to 35%

IV

Cancerous cells are spread to rectum, bladder, lymph nodes, and other organs.

Less than 16%

If left untreated, cervical cancer can spread to the vagina and other organs such as your kidneys, liver, and lungs in your body. It can also affect the pelvic lymph nodes. This usually happens in advanced-stage cancer only, and can cause life-threatening consequences.

How to Treat Cervical Cancer

Can you die from cervical cancer? Yes, you can. However, early diagnosis really helps improve your chances of survival. Here is more about some treatment options.

1. Receive Treatment for Cervical Cancer

Doctors may opt for a single therapy or select a combination of therapies considering you condition. For instance:

  • They may recommend surgery to remove cancerous cells.
  • They may opt for radiation therapy that involves using high-dose X-rays to kill cancer cells in the vaginal cavity. It is usually more effective when used in combination with surgery.
  • They may opt for chemotherapy that involves taking medicines to kill cancer cells.
  • They may recommend chemoradiation which is a combo of radiation and chemotherapy. This is usually an option to treat late-stage cervical cancer.

2. Receive Supportive Care

Palliative care can help you understand how to find relief from pain and symptoms associated with your cancer. You may receive palliative care from a team of nurses, doctors, and other trained professionals. With appropriate treatment, palliative care can provide people with some additional support, making them feel better and live longer.

3. Deal with Emotional Changes

It is never easy to deal with the fact that you have cancer. It is natural to feel angry and scared. You can have a range of feelings hitting you all at once. It is important to have friends and family around you to help you feel better about yourself. Even when you are receiving treatment, it is important to have someone to share your emotions with. You may consider talking to your doctor and asking for financial or psychological services. Taking part in a support group can also help.

4. Cope with Image and Sexual Problems

Soon after you complete your treatment, you will notice a considerable change in your feelings about your body and sexuality. It is important to talk openly with your partner and share your feelings. You may also discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider and ask about ways to deal with your body image issues.

5. Receive Treatment During Pregnancy

If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer during pregnancy, your doctor may make certain changes considering the stage of your cancer and your trimester. It means that your doctor would suggest you wait if your cancer is in its first stage but you are in your third trimester. In this condition, you could receive treatment after delivery. If it is necessary to receive treatment during pregnancy, you may have to deal with certain issues, including the loss of the baby or an early delivery.

6. Take Care After Treatment

Can you die from cervical cancer after receiving treatment? It is possible for the cancer to return after the treatment, so you need to receive follow-up care after completing your treatment successfully. You might have to go for a Pap test or a pelvic exam every 3 to 6 months for the first 2 years following your treatment. You need to have a Pap test done every 6 months after the first 2 years of treatment, and you need to continue this test for 3 to 5 years. After this, you only need a pelvic exam and Pap test once a year.

7. Other Tips for You

  • Improve your knowledge about cervical cancer to discuss your condition with your doctor. Do not hesitate to ask any question with your doctor. Consider taking a family member or friend with you to appointments.
  • Do not feel shy to use help from friends and family. Cancer treatments can be extremely exhausting and demanding, so it feels better to know someone is around you all the time.
  • Set short goals to keep you motivated. Achieving reasonable goals motivates you and gives you a sense of purpose.
  • Pay attention to your diet and be sure to get enough rest to reduce stress and fatigue.

How Can You Prevent Cervical Cancer?

Can you die from cervical cancer? Yes, it is never easy to deal with any type of cancer, and cervical cancer is no different. It is better to take precautions to prevent it. For instance:

  • Getting vaccinated against HPV lowers your chances of developing cervical cancer, especially if you take the vaccine before you become sexually active.
  • Go for Pap tests regularly to help make an early diagnosis. You should have your first Pap test by the age of 21 and repeat every few years.
  • Be very careful when engaging in sexual activities. Having fewer sexual partners, using a condom, and following other safe sex practices lower your risk of cervical cancer.
  • Avoid smoking.
 
 
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