Cervical cancer stage 4 is the highest severity of cervical cancer. In this condition, cervical cancer has entered the stage of advanced stage. Here are some symptoms of stage 4 cervical cancer that you should be aware of as well as treatment that can be done.
Cervical cancer or stage 4 cervical cancer is divided into two stages, namely stage 4A and stage 4B. In stage 4A cervical cancer, the cancer has spread to the bladder to the rectum (the last part of the large intestine). While in stage 4B cervical cancer, the cancer has spread to other body organs further such as bone, liver, lungs, and lymph nodes outside the pelvis. This condition is referred to as metastasis , which means the cancer cells have spread to other organs or tissues.
Sharing stages for cervical cancer adapting the FIGO system, which is an international federation of obstetricians and gynecologists. This system divides the stage of cancer based on the depth of the tumor, the width of the tumor, and the extent to which the cancer has spread. The extent of cervical cancer is divided into 4 stages and written in roman numerals, namely stage I, II, III, and IV. Then each stage is subdivided into A and B. The higher the stage, the wider the spread of cancer.
Cervical Cancer Stage 4 Symptoms You Need To Know
Symptoms of cervical cancer can be classified into two, namely early symptoms and symptoms continued. Early symptoms of cervical cancer are usually experienced by patients with stage I and IIA cervical cancer. While the symptoms of advanced cervical cancer usually experienced by patients with stage IIB cervical cancer to IVB, where cancer cells have come out of the cervix and uterus (womb).
Generally, early symptoms of cervical cancer include changes in menstrual schedules, vaginal discharge which smells rotten, and pain during intercourse, as well as bleeding from the vagina outside the menstrual cycle, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause.
In stage 4 cervical cancer, follow-up symptoms appear:
- Lower back pain, lower abdomen, or on the bone.
- Fatigue and lack of energy, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
- Pale due to abnormal bleeding from the vagina.
- Shortness of breath due to anemia or spread of cancer to the lungs.
- Decrease in the amount of urine, bloody urine, or urinary incontinence .
- Leakage of urine or faeces into the vagina, which occurs due to the appearance of abnormal channels (fistula) between the vagina, bladder, and
- Constipation .
- Swelling on one leg.
In cancer patients, life expectancy after diagnosis is described within five year survival rates statistically. Five year survival rates for stage IV cervical cancer is 16% for stage IVA and 15% for stage IVB, meaning that 16 out of 100 people can still live after five years of cervical cancer stage IVA.
For that reason, it is important to perform routine screening or early detection tests such as PAP smear to detect cervical cancer early, as well as cervical biopsy and a series of other tests recommended by doctors to know the stage of cervical cancer. This cancer staging is closely related to 5-year survival rates and treatment.
Cervical Cancer Treatment Stage 4 You Need to Know
Treatment of cervical cancer generally depends on the stage of your cancer. Treatment also depends on the type of cancer, the location of the cancer, and your health condition. The treatment for stage IV cervical cancer, is:
Cervical cancer stage IIB to IVA is treated with combination therapy between chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In this case, external radiotherapy will be done every day for 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Afterwards, you need to undergo internal radiotherapy ( brachytherapy ) at the end of treatment. During radiotherapy, you also have to undergo chemotherapy once a week, or once in two or three weeks. It depends on the chemotherapy drugs given.
In stage IVB cervical cancer with distant metastases, either newly discovered or recurrent from previous cervical cancers, are rarely curable. The recommended therapeutic options are chemotherapy or palliative treatment, which is a treatment aimed at relieving the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment. Usually chemotherapy at this stage is also part of palliative therapy and not aim to heal.
Treatment for cancer re-emerged
Despite undergoing a series of treatments and the cancer has disappeared, cervical cancer may re-emerge. And when it reappears, it usually gets close to the area where the cancer was first discovered (localized relapse), or it appears again in other body parts (metastatic cancer). For such cases, treatment usually depends on several things, such as the location of the cancer, previous care, the patient’s health condition, and the patient’s expectation of a cure.
If this cervical cancer has not spread too far, surgical removal of the uterus and cervix or hysterectomy possible to do. Not only the removal of the uterus, if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, around the bladder and intestines, then the procedure of removal of the organ or tissue can be done. As is known, lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system, which is an important part of the immune system. If the cancer cells out of an organ, it will be trapped and grow in the lymph nodes near the organ.
Generally, radiotherapy treatment can not be performed back to patients with uterine cancer who have undergone radiotherapy before, because there is a limit execution of radiotherapy procedures for the body. Thus, the possible treatment may be chemotherapy, either alone or in combination with surgery.
To prevent the occurrence of cervical cancer, you can routinely check to the doctor through pap smear procedure and avoid the trigger factors of cervical cancer. Other than that, cervical cancer vaccine which is reserved for women ages 11 to 26 years is also useful for building the immune system to protect themselves from human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer.
If you or your relatives suffer from stage IV uterine cancer, feel free to ask your doctor about the effectiveness of the medication as well as possible side effects.