In 20% of women with cervical cancer, the disease is diagnosed at stage 4. At this stage, the affected organ is destroyed, the malignant tumor spreads through the body.
The main reasons why the diagnosis was made so late:
- asymptomatic development of pathology at the early stages;
- the absence of regular checkups at the gynecologist;
- wrongly established previous diagnosis and incorrect treatment.
Symptoms of cervical cancer at stage 4
The signs depend on where the malignant cells have spread:
- bloody discharge from the vagina with an unpleasant odor;
- difficulty urinating due to tumor pressure on the ureter;
- disruption of bowel function due to the proliferation of malignant cells in the rectum;
- swelling (when cancer affects the pelvic lymph nodes);
- ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity);
- a backache;
- weakness, poor appetite.
Diagnosis of the last stage of the disease
To determine the degree of cancer development doctor can provide:
- gynecological examination;
- PAP test (defines the type of malignant cells);
- cervical biopsy (helps to study in detail the structure of the tumor);
- Ultrasound. Conducted to search for metastases in the bladder, ovaries, uterus;
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is indicated for the precise determination of the location and size of secondary tumors. In some cases, instead of MRI, positron emission tomography (PET-CT) is done;
- Chest X-ray. Helps to detect metastases in the lungs.
Prognosis for the 4th stage of cervical cancer
The 5-year survival rate is 8-9%. It means that 8-9 patients out of 100 live 5 or more years after the diagnosis was established. If the therapy is started on time, this indicator will increase to 10-12%.
What affects the quality of life at this stage?
- The decay of malignant cells. The death of cancer cells releases the toxins that poison healthy tissues.
- Damage to vital organs due to constant pain and disruptions in the work of the main systems of the human body.
- Big size of the tumor leads to chronic pain in the pelvic area.
Treatment of cervical cancer at later stages
At this stage, palliative treatment (chemo- and targeted therapy) is indicated. It helps relieve pain.
There is a chance to extend the life of a person with stage 4 cervical cancer for 1-1,5 years if the treatment is provided in time.