What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is a malignancy of female reproductive organs, formed in the cervix. The disease develops slowly from several years to several decades, passing the stage of cervical dysplasia, carcinoma in situ (stage 0 of cancer) and then already goes into invasive cancer.
Cervical cancer occurs in women between 20 and 70 years of age, but most often at the age of 45-55. The 5-year survival rate is high, at 80%, and the earlier the diagnosis and treatment is initiated, the higher the rate.
Symptoms and risk factors for cervical cancer
The initial stage proceeds without symptoms, so it is recommended to undergo a gynecological examination once a year in the absence of symptoms. When deviations are detected, the observation period is prescribed by the attending physician.
Possible symptoms of cervical cancer:
- Vaginal bleeding (after intercourse, after sports, bowel movements, etc. pathological bleeding);
- Increase in the number of secretions and bad smell;
- Pelvic pain, back pain in the infestation of the nearest organs;
- Change in the nature of urination, defecation (bleeding, pain, constipation, problems with urination, etc.).
Proven risk factors for cervical cancer:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV): 99% of cervical cancer cases are detected by relation to the virus; high-oncogenic risk virus (HPV 16, 18, 32, 33, etc.) cause cervical dysplasia, some of which can go into cancer.
- Smoking: Many studies have shown that women who smoke are twice as at risk of cervical cancer as non-smokers.
To prevent cervical cancer, it is recommended to visit a gynecologist who will perform a smear on cervical cancer and other examinations. Also in Korea, it is recommended to get the vaccination against HPV between the ages of 9 and 26 years, preferably before the onset of sexual activity. If necessary the vaccine is also available for those above 26.
Hospitals specializing in the treatment of cervical cancer in Korea
Medical Avenue has extensive experience with various hospitals in Korea (1st level hospitals – Samsung Medical Center, Severance Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, Seoul National University Hospital; 2nd hospitals – Ajou University Hospital, Cha Ilsan, etc.). The experience of our patients is important to us. Thus, our coordinators conduct a thorough assessment of the hospitals, doctors and medical staff. The accumulated experience allows to make recommendations individually: according to the diagnosis and wishes of patients.
For cervical cancer treatment, Medical Avenue recommends Professors Che Chol Hong at Samsung Medical Center, Kim Sung-hoon in Severance Hospitals, among other hospitals with top doctors on the field.
NOTE: some hospitals in Korea use experimental NK (natural killers) cell therapy in the treatment of cancer. This method uses your own NK cells. Cell collection occurs through a usual blood collection, then in the lab doctors multiply millions of times and injected back to the patient intravenously. This method helps to use your own immune system in the fight against cancer. Suitable for both patients with initial stage and terminal stage of cancer. For more information, please contact our experts for advice.
Preliminary plan for cervical cancer screenings in Korea
When contacting hospitals in Korea, a detailed examination is carried out to determine the stage of the spread of the disease and the presence of metastasis.
|– Smear from the cervix to oncocytology|
– Ultrasound and CT of pelvic organs
– Blood, urine tests
|If needed (developed cases):|
– MRI of the pelvic organs
|– Revision of histological slides (if a biopsy is done in your country and histological slides are brought in)||300$~600$2|
1 If there are comorbidities, the list of surveys and the cost may change. 2 Depending on the levels of the study, the cost may vary.
Preliminary plan for cervical cancer treatment in Korea
Treatments for cervical cancer can be:
- Surgical treatment (laparoscopic, robotic, open surgery): depending on the stage, age and condition of the patient, the desire to have children in the future, and other parameters, the doctor will decide on the scope of the operation; the scope of the operation can be from removal of only infected tissues up to 3 mm (conization) to removal of the uterus with ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments and nearby lymph nodes. ** After major surgery, a urinary catheter is inserted for several days.
- Radiotherapy: usually 25-28 courses of external radiation therapy are prescribed; 5-6 courses of brachytherapy can also be prescribed (a device is inserted into the vagina and radiation is conducted from the inside). ** If the patient is young, laparoscopic repositioning of the ovaries may be performed prior to the initiation of radiation therapy so that they are not affected by the radiation therapy and continue to function normally. According to statistics, in 72-80% of patients, the ovaries performed their function for another 5-10 years.
- Chemotherapy: the treatment protocol is decided by the attending physician, depending on the results of examinations and the patient’s condition; sometimes done in conjunction with radiation therapy.
|Возможные варианты лечения||Стоимость|
|– Chemotherapy||$500-$2,000 for 1 course2|
|– Radiotherapy||From $500 per 1 session3|
1 The cost may change, according to the method, the volume of surgery and the individual characteristics of treatment. The price includes basic hospitalization in a multi-seat ward. 2 Protocol appoints an oncologist based on the results of all surveys. The cost depends on the assigned protocol. When prescribing immunotherapy, the cost may increase. 3 The cost of radiation therapy will depend on the type of therapy, the number of courses, dosage.
Approximate schedule of cervical cancer screening and treatment in Korea
- 1 day: consultation with the professor, appointment of examinations
- Day 2: examinations
- 8-9 day: secondary consultation, examinations results
- Surgery: scheduled, hospitalization for 5-10 days1
- Outpatient appointment based on the results of the biopsy after discharge and flight home. 2
1 The period of hospitalization may be extended depending on the volume of the operation and the recovery period. 2 The stay may change depending on the patient’s condition, the type of surgery and the schedule of the ward in which the treatment will take place.
Advice from a medical coordinator in Korea for cervical cancer patients
- Be sure to follow all the recommendations after the operation. After surgery, for 1 month, it is necessary to follow a diet (more fiber) so that there is no constipation.
- Sexual relations can begin 2 months after surgery.
- Bring with you all the medicines you take on a permanent basis (for the caregiver and the patient), black tea, porridge, cereals, etc.
Reviews of patients treated for cervical cancer in Korea
At the end of 2018, I start developing some symptoms, so I suspected it was cervical cancer. Thus, I decided to go to Korea for a more accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately there, they confirmed my suspicions.
The operation was successful, I was very pleased. The nurses and all the medical staff are all very efficient. I really like my doctor.
My relatives recommended me to contact Medical Avenue. And I’m glad I did it. Many thanks to the coordinators Olga, Elina, Sasha, Kate – everyone who worked with me, went to the hospital, helped with translations and more.
I was satisfied with my treatment, now I periodically fly for annual examinations.