The following article is a guest post.
Cervical cancer is a dangerous form of cancer that can develop in women and it is the 2nd most common one after breast cancer.
According to the world cancer report produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014, there were 528,000 cases reported in 2012, with cervical cancer claiming 266,000 lives.
In Australia though, the cases of cervical cancer have dropped annually due to organised screening taking place.
Research shows that pap tests being carried out twice every year in Australia can decrease the likelihood of cervical cancer by 90% and save around 1200 women from being victims of the disease.
Cervical cancer can be cured by radiation therapy either by exposing the pelvis region to external radiation or by brachytherapy in which radioactive seeds are implanted in the cervix.
Although there are side-effects of radiation therapy like diarrhoea, nausea, irritable bladder or vaginal bleeding, there are many advantages of this type of treatment as well.
Targeted and Accurate
Radiotherapy, unlike other forms of cancer treatment like chemotherapy or surgery is a targeted form of treatment. In other words, it can be aimed directly at the pelvic region through an external machine to kill or reduce cancer cells without damaging any surrounding vital tissues or organs in the body.
Cancer diagnosis and treatments usually cost a fortune for the Australian government. On the other hand, radiation therapy is cost-effective and around 9 cents cheaper than a dollar spent on other forms of cancer treatment. Furthermore, a single radiotherapy machine can treat patients for 10 years.
This form of cervical cancer treatment is more convenient because the treatment centres are setup as out-patient stations. Patients are able to walk in and receive a short period of treatment, after which they can go about their daily activities. Radiotherapy sessions last from 15 minutes to an hour.
Cervical cancer can reoccur even if it has been cured completely or the tumour has been extracted successfully. Radiotherapy can reduce the chances of a recurrence and it is highly effective in doing so. It also makes surgery easier as it shrinks the size of the cancerous growth or tumour.
Moreover, if cervical cancer is in the early stages, radiotherapy might be used to treat it solely. Hence, this eliminates the need to perform surgery or remove any organs.
Reduces the Symptoms
The symptoms of cervical cancer are quite noticeable; they may include heavy menstruation, menopausal bleeding, pain during or after intercourse or vaginal discharge. Most of these symptoms can be reduced by radiation therapy which is painless and non-invasive.
In cases which have surpassed the earlier stages, radiation therapy can help patients cope with pain. It also helps prevent the spread of the cancer to other body parts.