Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, The Other September Issue

September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month!

The Dandelion Foundation recognizes the month by bringing education and awareness to the community.
a Gynecologic Cancer Symposium is aimed at arming women with information about cancer and educating the community about the latest information and developments in gynecologic oncology. Our panelists are local gynecology and radiology cancer experts with nearly years of combined experience in gynecological oncology and savings womens lives.
Don’t miss your chance to get the answers to the questions you’ve wanted to ask your doctor! Get tickets! Eventbrite

4 Reasons you want to attend this symposium:

1. Meet Expert Gynecologist Oncologists
2. Connect with Advocates and Survivors
3. Get Answers to questions about ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers
4. Join the tribe! Get Involved at Dandelion Foundation

Dr. Ebony R. Hoskins is a gynecologic cancer expert who has performed over 500 Da Vinci robotic surgeries during her 7 years of practice as a board-certified gynecologic oncologist. She completed a Cancer Research Training Award at the National Cancer Institute and focused on the link between obesity and endometrial cancer in African-American women. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Dandelion Foundation, a nonprofit that is changing the face of gynecologic cancer support.  Dr. Hoskins will be a key expert panelist at the Gynecologic Cancer Symposium on September 26th in Sterling, Virginia.

Ovarian Cancer experts, Radiation Oncologist, Survivors, Advocates and more.

Get your tickets today! Eventbrite

 

Could Blueberries help fight Cervical Cancer?

Everyone knows blueberries are good for keeping your heart healthy, but a new study shows that eating blueberries could also help prevent cervical cancer. In a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that blueberry extract can help boost the effectiveness of cervical cancer treatment.

 

Researchers explained that while radiation is one of the most common treatments for cervical cancer, the downside is that it not only destroys the abnormal cells — it also destroys the nearby healthy cells as well.

blueberries improve radiation treatment for cervical cancer

However, the study, published in Pathology and Oncoloy Research, describes how blueberry extract can act as a radiosensitizer — a non-toxic chemical that makes cancer cells more receptive to radiation therapy. Radiosensitizers have also been studied in conjunction with prostate cancer research.

 

What makes blueberries a super food with healing capabilities? Blueberries contain resveratrol, a radiosensitizer known for helping treat prostate cancer. Additionally, blueberries contain flavonoids, which are chemicals known to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. In this study, flavonoids were proven to increase cell death in conjunction with radiation treatment.

 

“Drugs have so many side effects. We want to go back to see if there are natural chemicals that help us cure or prevent disease,” said lead researcher, Dr. Yujiang Fang, M.D., Ph.D., academic pathologist and assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Des Moines University.

 

In the study, cells were broken up into four different groups. Results from the study showed that the group of cells that received only radiation saw a decrease in cancerous cells by 20 percent and the group that received only blueberry extract treatment saw a decrease by 25 percent.

 

However, the cells that received both radiation and blueberry extract saw a decrease of cancerous cells by almost 70 percent, showing that combining a radiosensitizer with traditional treatment methods can be extremely beneficial.

 

“Having blueberries before and during radiation could be beneficial, even for patients who do not receive radiation or have other cancers,” Fang said. “Blueberries not only have an anticancer effect, but also antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. It would be beneficial to even a healthy person.”

 

The researchers also determined in a separate study that red grapes have similar healing properties as blueberries.

 

While the number of cervical cancer diagnoses have dropped 50 percent in the last 40 years, the disease still effects almost 13,000 women a year, with about a third of those cases being deadly. Most doctors attribute the decline in cases with the increased awareness around Pap smear tests and the development of an HPV vaccine. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer, with almost 90 percent of cervical cancer cases being linked to it.

 

While there is more research to be done, doctor’s hope that the use of blueberries in cancer treatments could be an inexpensive and accessible option to boost the effectiveness of radiation therapy.

Fertility After Surviving Cervical Cancer

Being diagnosed with cervical cancer is a scary and emotional situation for nearly 13,000 women every year. Women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer and may want to have children in the future face several concerns and questions about fertility. While HPV alone doesn’t have a huge impact on fertility, being treated for precancerous or cancerous cells can impact your fertility.

A cone biopsy or LLETZ (large loop excision of the transformation zone) is one form of treatment for early stages of cervical cancer. In this procedure, a small area of cervical tissue is removed. There is a small increase in having a premature baby or low-birthweight baby after these proceedings, but fertility is still intact.

Another form of treatment for early cervical cancer is a radical trachelectomy, which involves removing most of the cervix and the upper part of the vagina. This involves a permanent stitch around the cervix holding it closed. It is still possible to safely carry and deliver a baby, however a Caesarean section is required since the cervix is permanently stitched.

fertility cervical cancer gynecology oncology

If cervical cancer is not caught early on, a hysterectomy may be required. During this procedure, all or part of the uterus is removed. This procedure would leave the woman fully infertile. However, receiving regular Pap smears can prevent the spread of precancerous cells and diagnose problems early.

Aside from surgical procedures, cancer treatment through radiation and chemotherapy are shown to have a negative effect on fertility.

However, there are ways to potentially preserve fertility before beginning treatments by having eggs frozen and removed. These eggs could later be used for surrogacy if a woman can no longer carry a baby on her own. While surrogacy is complex and expensive, it could be a solution to infertility because of cervical cancer treatments.

The good news is that many women who treat cervical cancer in its early stages can still get pregnant and carry a baby to term. However, for many women, these options are not available for the type of treatment they require and result in a loss of fertility.

Losing fertility can be extremely difficult to cope with, even if a woman was not planning on having children. Anger, grief and depression are all normal reactions to infertility. There are several support groups developed to help during this difficult time. Seeking the help of a trusted psychologist can also ease the emotional pain women feel after the loss of fertility.

It’s important to realize that a cervical cancer diagnoses is not automatically the end of fertility. Find a reputable healthcare provider who can go over options for treatment and how those treatments might affect the ability to get pregnant in the future.