Treatment in Germany and Switzerland

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Vaginal cancer treatment

Gynecologic-oncological diseases treatment can be rather difficult as there’s a great recurrence or metastasis chance if the neoplasm wasn’t removed completely. Recurrent VC is more difficult to treat. We work in cooperation with some German clinics that have quite powerful gynecologic-oncological departments carrying out scientific research, working on therapy methods and implementing new technologies. That allows to minimize the recurrence risk for the vaginal cancer therapy and make it the most efficient.

Let’s consider three basic VC treatment methods: surgery, irradiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Surgery

That is the most popular method: some manipulations aimed at the tumor removing are performed. The specialists select the most sparing method and apply resection as a last resort only.

  • Laser therapy.Laser is used to remove the damaged areas. Healthy tissues remain unaffected.
  • Abdominal operation.Surgical instruments are used to remove the cancer and some neighboring healthy tissues.
  • Vaginectomy.A part or the entire uterus is removed.
  • Hysterectomy.Uterus and uterine cervix removing surgery. If they are removed through the vagina, the operation is known as hysterectomy. If the organs are removed through the abdominal cavity, it is called abdominal hysterectomy. If laporoscopy is applied (a small cut is made and the tumor is removed by laporoscope) the operation is called laparoscopic hysterectomy.
  • Lymphadenectomy.The lymph nodes are removed and then studied under the microscope for the cancerous symptoms. This manipulation is also known as lymphodissection. If cancer is in the upper vagina the pelvic lymph nodes are removed. If the tumor is in the lower part the inguinal nodes are removed.
  • Pelvic exenteration.The lower large intestine, rectum and bladder are removed. Uterine cervix, vagina, ovaries and neighboring lymph nodes removal is sometimes necessary. Special holes (stomas) leading to the collection bags are made to collect urine and feces. At the patient’s wish, thereparative operationfor the vagina is performed. The parts of healthy tissue (it’s usually gluteal or hip skin) are placed into the damaged areas.

As a rule, irradiation therapy is recommended after the surgery. It helps to get rid of single cancerous cells that may remain after the operation. Adjuvant therapy is also performed and aimed at the quicker patient’s recovery.

Irradiation therapy

Irradiation therapy (IT) implies exposure of the tumor area to radiation for eliminating the cancerous cells and preventing their further growth and expansion. At the same time, healthy cells are hardly affected. There are two IT types: external and internal. The external therapy implies that the radiation is directed to the presumed tumor area with special equipment. As for the internal method, the radiant matter is injected in the cancerous area or round it through needles, wires or catheters. The method selection depends on the oncology type and stage.

Chemotherapy

The tumor growth preventive medicine is prescribed: it affects and eliminates the cancerous cells or prevents their division. If the medicine is injected intravenously, intramuscularly or orally, it gets into blood and can affect the cancerous cells in the entire organism (total body chemotherapy). This medicine can also be brought to separate damaged organs for directed action (local chemotherapy). The chemotherapy method depends on the oncology type and stage. Ointments and lotions are also used for the vaginal cancer.

Treatment by stage

Specific therapy methods can be applied for the differentvaginal cancer stages:

  • Stage 0: The following methods are applied for Stage 0:
    • Abdominal surgery
    • Partial or total vaginectomy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Laser surgery
    • Internal irradiation therapy
  • Stage 1:
    • Internal irradiation therapy. External method is sometimes used for the lymph nodes or small tumors radiation exposure.
    • Abdominal surgery or vaginectomy. Irradiation therapy is usually prescribed after that.
    • Vaginectomy or lymphadenectomy usually followed by IT course.

Treatment for vaginal adenocarcinoma of Stage 1:

    • Vaginectomy, hysterectomy or lymphadenectomy sometimes followed by IT course.
    • Internal irradiation therapy with the external lymph nodes irradiation method.
    • Combination of several methods: abdominal surgery and lymphadenectomy or internal irradiation therapy.
  • The following methods are applied for Stage 2:
    • External and internal IT with the external lymph nodes irradiation.
    • Vaginectomy or pelvic exenteration with the following IT course.
    • The same therapy as for Stage 1.
  • Stage 3: The same therapy as for Stage 1-2. External and internal IT is prescribed before or after the surgery.
  • Stage 4 A: The same therapy as for Stage 1-3.
  • Stage 4 B: The same therapy as for Stage 1-3. Irradiation therapy is prescribed as palliative treatment aimed at the symptoms relieving or life quality improvement. Chemotherapy is introduced.
  • Recurrent VC: The treatment includes pelvic exenteration and irradiation therapy.

The page provides general information on the treatment methods: the program is always selected individually with the consideration of the disease symptoms and clinical history and the patient’s condition.