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What Are the Complications of Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer affects thousands of women every year. While prevention and early detection are crucial, it’s important to understand the potential complications that can arise from this disease. In this article, we will explore the complications of cervical cancer and discuss how they impact women’s lives.

Treatment Side Effects

Early Menopause
If the ovaries are removed or damaged during radiotherapy, a woman may experience early menopause. This can result in symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can help alleviate these symptoms.

Lymph node removal in the pelvis can disrupt the lymphatic system, leading to a build-up of fluid in the tissue known as lymphedema. This can cause swelling, most commonly in the legs. Special exercises, massage techniques, and compression garments can help manage lymphedema.

Emotional Impact
Living with cervical cancer can take a toll on a woman’s emotional well-being. It is not uncommon for women to experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. It is important to seek support from a health care specialist and loved ones if experiencing these emotional challenges.

Advanced Cervical Cancer Complications

As the cancer spreads, it can cause severe pain. Depending on the level of pain, medications such as paracetamol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or powerful painkillers may be prescribed.

Kidney Failure
A tumor can cause a buildup of urine inside the kidneys. Symptoms may include tiredness, swelling, shortness of breath, and blood in the urine. Treatment options may involve draining urine from the kidneys or widening the ureters with a stent.

Cervical cancer that spreads to the vagina, bowel, or bladder can cause bleeding. Minor bleeding can often be treated with medication, while more severe bleeding may require surgery, radiotherapy, or the cutting off of blood supply to the cervix.

In rare cases, advanced cervical cancer can lead to the development of a fistula. This is a channel that forms between the bladder and vagina, or between the vagina and rectum, causing a persistent discharge. Treatment options may involve medication, creams, and lotions to reduce discharge and protect the surrounding tissue.

While cervical cancer is a serious condition, understanding its potential complications can help women better navigate their journey. Women must work closely with their health care team to manage and address any issues that may arise.

For details about the complications of cervical cancer, please contact Sioux Center Health in Sioux Center, Iowa. Through our screenings and diagnostic imaging tests, we assist women with early detection and reducing the risk of this disease.