Cervical Cancer: Fertility Sparing Treatment

What is fertility sparing treatment (trachelectomy)?

Trachelectomy is a fertility-preserving operation in the treatment of cervical cancer aimed at preserving the uterus in women who are desirous of future pregnancy.

How can fertility be spared if there is a cancer in the cervix?

The cervix (neck of womb) is not an essential body part for pregnancy, although it does have important roles. If the cancer is confined to the neck of the womb, removing the cancerous cervix only will allow the surgeon to preserve the body of the womb, where the baby can grow.

How is a trachelectomy performed?

This operation can be performed either via keyhole (laparoscopy), or vaginally or via a tummy cut (laparotomy).

The keyhole operation has several advantages over opting for a tummy cut. The benefits of a trachelectomy via keyhole surgery include:

  • Short hospital stay (2 days)
  • A quicker recovery
  • Able to return to everyday activities (including flying) within 2-3 weeks

Who can perform this operation?

This procedure can only be performed by specialist gynaecologists called gynaecological oncologists who are trained to perform cancer surgery.

Is trachelectomy a safe procedure?

Trachelectomy is a relatively new procedure but it has been performed for more than a decade now worldwide in cancer centres. The procedure will be discussed in full with you by your treating consultant.

Is there any effect of trachelectomy on future pregnancies?

Trachelectomy can be associated with difficulty in conceiving because of cervical scarring and stenosis. If women conceive then there is a higher incidence of miscarriage and preterm birth. All women after trachelectomy are advised against vaginal birth and should deliver via caesarean section.

Paying for your treatment

You have two options to pay for your treatment – your costs may be covered by your private medical insurance, or you can pay for yourself.

Check with your private medical insurer to see if your diagnostic costs are covered under your medical insurance policy. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the procedure will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation.

Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the consultants’ fees and the hospital charge for your procedure.

For further information or to book a consultation or treatment, please get in touch with our cancer enquiries team: Call us on 0800 157 7747

Content reviewed: September 2014

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