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Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women under 45 years old. The most common cause of its development is human papillomavirus (HPV), due to which the tumor can appear at any age. Modern treatment methods allow the doctors to control the growth and the development of tumors even at the stage 4 of the malignant process. Thanks to the introduction of innovative technologies into clinical practice, Germany has achieved huge success in the treatment of the disease.
- Classic treatment methods and their disadvantages
- Advanced treatment methods for stage 4 cervical cancer in Germany
- Benefits of treatment in Germany
- How to undergo treatment in Germany?
Classic treatment methods and their disadvantages
Stage 4 cervical cancer is diagnosed when the tumor has reached a large size, has spread to other organs and systems, as well as has distant metastases.
The standard treatment protocols involve the use of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and open surgery. However, many medical facilities still use outdated techniques, which have significant drawbacks:
- Classical chemotherapy for stage 4 cervical cancer acts systemically on the entire body, negatively affecting healthy cells in the body. This leads to a weakening of the immune system and the development of various unpleasant symptoms.
- Systemic radiation therapy also impairs the functioning of healthy cells and requires a long rehabilitation period.
- Open surgery involves a large area of intervention and a weakened body needs a long time to recover after it.
- All of them rarely show really good results, worsen the quality of life of patients and do not increase survival rate.
The improved options of standard treatments allow achieving significantly better indicators and have fewer negative side effects.
Advanced treatment methods for stage 4 cervical cancer in Germany
German oncologists practice new treatment techniques for stage 4 cervical cancer aimed at stopping the growth and reducing the size of the tumor, prolonging the life of patients, eliminating the symptoms of pathology. The treatment methods used are distinguished not only by their high efficiency, but also by safety, good tolerance and rapid recovery of patients. The most effective treatment methods in Europe include modern options for radiation therapy and chemotherapy, embolization, non-invasive treatment methods, low-traumatic surgery. The choice of treatment regimen depends on the type of cancer cells, cancer spread and the presence of metastases.
Embolization of metastases
The embolization technique for cervical cancer has been practiced in medicine since the beginning of the 21st century, but this procedure is constantly being improved. It implies the blockage of blood vessels, which supply malignant tumors. This is achieved by injecting emboli – various chemical agents into the arterial lumen.
The most common type of this procedure in Germany is transarterial chemoembolization. This is a variant of embolization, in which microspheres saturated with chemotherapy agents are used as emboli. Chemoembolization in cervical cancer treatment allows the doctors to use a high concentration of chemotherapy drugs in the pathological focus without affecting healthy tissues.
Embolization has the following effects:
- Blocking the lumen of vessels feeding the tumor leads to its oxygen deprivation and death.
- The gradual release of chemotherapy agents during chemoembolization destroys cancer cells with minimal systemic side effects.
- About 10% of stage 4 cervical cancer is accompanied by severe uterine bleeding, which can be fatal. The emergent embolization procedure can be used to quickly eliminate bleeding.
- The procedure is often used to reduce the tumor size prior to surgery.
- It allows the doctors to control the tumor locally at the advanced stages, if it is impossible to perform surgery
Embolization is performed through a small incision in the groin. The doctor inserts a catheter into the arterial bed moving it towards the tumor. The X-ray equipment is used to constantly monitor each stage of the procedure. For this purpose, the doctor injects a contrast agent into the vessels to determine the sources of blood supply to the tumor.
Some patients may have cervical cancer metastases in the liver. They can be destroyed by hepatic artery chemoembolization. It is often combined with radiofrequency or microwave ablation of small tumors.
Treatment with antineoplastic drugs
For a long time, only chemotherapy has been used for the treatment of stage 4 cervical cancer. Only in 2014 the specialists began prescribing the innovative drugs, which significantly improved the treatment results. Nowadays, even the patients with stage 4 cancer and distant metastases can live many years after diagnosis, if they receive modern drug regimens.
In addition to chemotherapy, Germany offers innovative drugs, which have a more complex mechanism of action.
The active development of the tumor vasculature plays an important role in the development of cancer. Cancer cells divide rapidly and consume large amounts of nutrients and oxygen from the blood. Almost all cervical tumors are abundantly vascularized (contain a large number of vessels). As the tumor grows, new vessels supplying it with blood appear as well.
Antiangiogenic therapy for the treatment of stage 4 cervical cancer involves the use of angiogenesis inhibitors – drugs, which inhibit the formation of new vessels. The addition of such drugs to standard chemotherapy reduced the risk of recurrence (return of a disease). In addition, the life expectancy of patients has increased.
Many studies revealed special protein molecules – PD-L1 checkpoints on the surface of cancer cells, which help the tumor to be undetected by the immune system. In the case of cervical cancer, they were found in 80-85% of patients.
Immunotherapy is the use of drugs, which block the activity of these molecules (PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors). They have no effect on the cells, so the treatment is usually well tolerated. Immunotherapy also has fewer severe side effects as compared to chemotherapy.
In stage 4 cervical cancer, drugs are administered intravenously once every 3 weeks. The duration of the course depends on the individual characteristics of the organism. Upon the completion of treatment, the size of the tumor decreases in patients and its further development stops.
Modern radiation therapy
Radiation therapy is the exposure of the cervical tumor to radiofrequency radiation. When treating stage 4 cancer, it is usually combined with chemotherapy to achieve a comprehensive effect on cancer cells. Modern types of radiation therapy are used to reduce symptoms, eliminate bleeding, suppress the primary tumor and metastatic foci in the bones. The radiation is performed on modern linear accelerators, which ensure the minimum risk of post-radiation complications.
Currently, brachytherapy is increasingly used for cervical cancer treatment. Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy, in which a radiation source is placed near the tumor. Thus, it is possible to apply a higher dose of radiofrequency radiation locally without affecting healthy tissue.
Surgical treatment methods
In the case of large tumors, the doctors perform radical surgery to remove the uterus, nearby lymph nodes, and, if required, other reproductive organs. However, German hospitals try to resort to such interventions only in extreme cases. For this purpose, oncologists use various techniques to reduce the size of cancer and metastases, so that they can perform more sparing surgical procedures:
- Laser vaporization is the destruction of cancer cells using high temperatures of laser radiation.
- Trachelectomy is the removal of the cervix and part of the vagina using a laparoscope. In this case, surgery is performed through a small skin incision.
In any case, the doctors do everything necessary to preserve the largest possible amount of tissues and organs, as well as reproductive function, if possible.
Benefits of treatment in Germany
Medicine in Germany is at a high level, which is a reason for a constant flow of patients from different countries of the world. There are several reasons why you should visit one of the German hospitals:
- Work of hospitals, treatment programs and the quality of medical care are controlled by the government at the legislative level
- Doctors undergo long-term training and receive high qualifications
- All medical facilities have proper medical equipment
- German hospitals are constantly developing and improving existing treatment and diagnostic methods
- Only the best drugs with a less toxic effect on the body are used in the medical practice
- Due attention is paid to the rehabilitation, which is aimed at the comprehensive restoration of bodily functions
- Treatment is provided only after the accurate diagnostics and is appointed individually
The treatment of stage 4 cervical cancer with modern technologies in Germany is possible in several hospitals.
How to undergo treatment in Germany?
To undergo treatment of stage 4 cervical cancer in the best oncology hospitals abroad, you can use the services of Booking Health. The company is an official medical tourism provider, the quality of which is confirmed by the prestigious ISO 9001:2015 certificate.
The qualified employees of the company will help you with the following issues:
- Selection of the most suitable medical center for the diagnostics and treatment of stage 4 cervical cancer
- Preparation of a medical program considering all previously performed procedures
- Provision of the minimal cost of services due to the lack of coefficients for foreign patients (the cost of treatment will be 50% lower)
- Doctor's appointment on the desired dates
- Control of the medical program at all its stages
- Assistance in buying and forwarding medicines according to the prescription
- Communicate with the attending physician
- Monitoring of invoices and return of unspent funds
- Organization of additional diagnostic examinations
- Competent preparation of the patient for a flight for treatment
- Top-class services: the Booking Health specialists will fully organize your trip, book airline tickets and a hotel, meet you at the airport and take you to the hospital by car
To undergo treatment in the best European hospitals and find out the prices, please leave your request on the official website of our company.
Choose treatment abroad and you will get the best results surely!