Cancer Surgery Gives Hope for Childbirth
Cervical cancer no longer means life without children.
We don't hear a lot about cervical cancer because there are ways to prevent it.
Getting a yearly pap smear at your OBGYN's office is one of them.
The test can show abnormal cells before cancer forms.
That test wasn't enough for a Virginia woman who is was one of 16,000 who will be diagnosed with the disease this year.
Karen Hall had a miscarriage that led to even more serious information about her health: she had cervical cancer at age 29.
"In the past there was no hope for them to have children at all or bear children," says Director of Carilion Clinic's Gynecological Oncology Department Dr. Dennis Scribner.
Hall says the news was devastating.
"My husband and I had just started to try to have children and to realize that it might never happen it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with in my life, second only to the fact that I had cancer."
Dr. Scribner talked to Karen about a procedure that would keep her uterus in tact and allow her and her husband Garret a 50 percent chance of conceiving a child and a 70 percent chance of actually completing the pregnancy and having a healthy baby.
Dr. Scribner says women often choose radical surgery over chemotherapy and radiation because there are fewer long term side effects and the specific procedure Karen had is mainly for women who are younger or want to have more children.
"I hope to be pregnant soon you know if not if a couple of years down the road it doesn't work we'll try adoption we'll try something," Karen now says.
So far about 500 women have had this surgery in the U.S. and about 70 percent of those women have been able to get pregnant.