Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix, the narrow neck at the lower part of a woman's uterus, just above the vagina (Figure 1). The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina.
Approximately eight out of 10 cervical cancers originate in surface cells lining the cervix (squamous cell carcinomas). These cancers do not form suddenly. Over time, healthy cervical cells can become abnormal in appearance -- this is called dysplasia. Although these cells are not cancerous, they can eventually become...
Selected pelvic lymph nodes may be removed. If they are negative, no postoperative treatment is indicated. Postoperative treatment with a vaginal cylinder is advocated by some clinicians.
For all other cases and cell types, a pelvic and selective periaortic node sampling should be combined with the total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, if there are no medical or technical contraindications. One study found that node dissection per se did not significantly add to the overall morbidity from hysterectomy. While the radiation therapy will reduce the incidence of local and regional recurrence, improved survival has not been proven and toxic effects are worse.[3,4,5,6] Results of two randomized trials on the use of adjuvant radiation therapy in patients with stage I disease did not show improved survival but did show reduced locoregional recurrence (3%–4% vs. 12%–14% after 5–6 years' median follow-up, P <.001) with an increase in side effects.[6,7,8][Level of evidence: 1iiDii] Results of a study by the Danish Endometrial Cancer Group also suggest that the absence of radiation does not improve the survival of patients with stage I, intermediate-risk disease (grade 1 and 2 with >50% myometrial invasion or grade 3 with <50% myometrial invasion).
The PORTEC-2 trial randomly assigned patients with stage I endometrial cancer who did not undergo lymph node dissection to undergo vaginal brachytherapy (VBT) or external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), with prevention of vaginal recurrence as the primary outcome. At 5 years, there was no difference in the rates of vaginal recurrence, locoregional recurrence, progression-free survival or overall survival (OS) (84.8% [95% confidence interval—CI—, 79.3–90.3] vs. 79.6% [95% CI, 71.2–88.0] for VBT and EBRT, respectively; P = .57). There were significantly fewer gastrointestinal toxic effects in the VBT group, making VBT the preferred option for adjuvant treatment of patients with stage I disease.[Level of evidence: 1iA]