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Stage 4 Cervical Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Stage 4 cervical cancer is a condition in which cancer not only attacks the cervix or cervical area, but has also spread to other organs of the body. Check out the explanation of the symptoms and treatment in the following review.

Stage 4 Cervical Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What is Stage 4 Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that appears in the cervical area, the lower part of the uterus that is directly related to the vagina. This type of cancer is also divided into 4 stages, and stage 4 is the most severe stage.

Please note, stage 4 cervical cancer means cancer cells have spread to the bladder, rectum, or other parts of the body.

Symptoms of Stage 4 Cervical Cancer

Once cervical cancer has reached stage 4, the symptoms that appear can be quite severe and depend on the other tissues and organs affected by the spread of the cancer.

Following are some of the symptoms of stage IV cervical cancer that may appear:

  • Longer and heavier menstrual bleeding. If you experience abnormal bleeding, you need to get checked because this is a sign of a problem with the body.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding. If you experience bleeding after sexual intercourse, outside of menstruation or after menopause, then you need to see a doctor immediately.
  • Abnormal heavy vaginal discharge. For example kvaginal discharge that is watery, pink, brown, or has a strong odor
  • Pelvic pain without cause. A growing tumor can cause pelvic pain and discomfort during intercourse. You need to be vigilant if the pain in this part doesn’t go away and you don’t know why.

When to See a Doctor?

If you feel the symptoms as mentioned above, you should immediately consult a doctor to determine the condition for sure.

The above symptoms do not always mean you have cervical cancer. But whatever the type of disease, early detection will be better so that the disease can be followed up more quickly before it gets worse.

Also Read: 11 Important Steps in Addressing a Cancer Diagnosis

Causes of Stage 4 Cervical Cancer

Until now, it is known human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a role in the development of cervical cancer. In addition, the environment and lifestyle also have an important role in cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer begins to appear when healthy cells in the cervix develop DNA mutations. Cells that experience this mutation will grow and multiply out of control. In addition, these cells also do not die like healthy cells in general.

This collection of abnormal cells will form a mass or tumor. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissue and spread to other areas of the organ.

Diagnosis of Stage 4 Cervical Cancer

The diagnosis of stage 4 cervical cancer is determined from a series of examinations. Generally, this condition is detected from the results of an abnormal Pap smear examination and various symptoms that appear.

After seeing the symptoms and doing a physical examination. Here are some other tests that may be done to help diagnose stage 4 cervical cancer:

  • Biopsy. A biopsy examination is an examination by taking a sample of cervical tissue to detect the presence or absence of cancer cells. There are several types of biopsies, you can discuss with your doctor which type is most suitable.
  • Imaging test. After detecting that there is cancer in the cervix, the doctor will check the spread of cancer using imaging tests. Forms of imaging tests are like X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans.
  • Visual examination of the bladder and rectum. This examination is done to see directly the condition of the bladder and rectum to make sure the cancer has spread to these areas.

Stages of Cervical Cancer Stage 4

The following are the stages in stage IV cervical cancer, including:

1. Stage IVA

In stage IVA, the cancer has spread to organs close to the cervix, namely the bladder or rectum.

2. Stage IVB

At stage IVB, the cancer has spread to other organs of the body and is even found in organs far from the uterus, such as the lungs. This condition is known as secondary cancer or metastatic cancer.

Also Read: Abstinence of Cervical Cancer Patients, from Food to Lifestyle

Stage 4 Cervical Cancer Treatment

As previously mentioned, determining the stage of the cancer is very important for getting the right treatment. The doctor will recommend treatment based on your needs.

Here are some treatment options for stage 4 cervical cancer that can be done:

1. Radiation Therapy

One step in the treatment of stage 4 cervical cancer is radiation therapy. The doctor may suggest external radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy, or both.

Radiation therapy procedures are carried out using energy beams that are useful for killing and shrinking cancer cells.

External radiation therapy is carried out by using a machine and irradiating the area affected by the cancer using energy beam waves.

Internal radiation therapy is carried out by inserting radioactive material into the cancer-affected area through a needle, cable, or catheter.

2. Chemotherapy

This treatment is done to kill cancer cells and suppress their growth. However, in cases of stage 4 cervical cancer, chemotherapy is used to relieve the symptoms of cancer rather than cure it.

However, chemotherapy can affect healthy cells, such as skin, hair, intestines and bone marrow.

3. Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy aims to inhibit and block the growth of cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. This procedure is carried out by giving certain drugs or substances. This therapy is sometimes also given in combination with chemotherapy.

4. Chemoradiation

Chemoradiation can be said to be a fairly effective treatment for stage 4 cervical cancer, especially for stage 4A. This therapy combines chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy is given during the same period as radiation therapy. Chemotherapy will make radiation therapy more effective.

5. Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a drug treatment that can help the immune system fight cancer cells.

The immune system, which is tasked with fighting disease cells, may not fight cancer cells because these cells produce proteins that make them undetectable to immune system cells.

Immunotherapy works by interfering with the process by which these proteins are formed. This treatment is generally chosen when other treatments are deemed less effective for treating cervical cancer.

Also Read: 9 Types of Cancer in Women that Often Occur and Need to Watch Out for!

Chances of Stage 4 Cervical Cancer Cure

Basically cervical cancer can be cured. Even cervical cancer is considered as the cancer that is most likely to be prevented and cured, especially if it is detected early.

However, the higher the stage of the cancer, the smaller the survival rate.

In stage IVA cancer, the 5-year survival rate is 16%, while the survival rate for stage IVB cancer is 15%.

This means that only 16 out of 100 women survive after 5 years of being diagnosed with stage IVA cervical cancer and only 15 out of 100 people for stage IVB.

  1. Anonymous. Stages of cervical cancer . (Accessed 7 February 2023).
  2. Anonymous. Treatments for stage 4 cervical cancer. (Accessed 7 February 2023).
  3. Anonymous. 2017. Stage 4. (Accessed 7 February 2023).
  4. Anonymous. Cervical Cancer: Types of Treatment. 2019. (Accessed 7 February 2023).
  5. Anonymous. 2019. Cervical cancer. (Accessed 7 February 2023).

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