Women who undergo surgery to treat pre-cancerous abnormalities on their cervix are more likely to have premature or low birth weight children compared to the ones who don't undergo these procedures. The research focused on women who have a common condition called cervical dysplasia, which consists of abnormal tissue growth, usually caused by the human papillomavirus.
As cervical dysplasia is a common condition, the severity of the cases may vary. While milder cases can disappear with time, the more serious ones are usually treated through a surgical removal of the extra tissue, in order to prevent the development of cervical cancer.
Cervical Dysplasia Removal Surgery, Short-Term Effects On Giving Birth
Among the women investigated in the study, those who had at least 1 centimeter of tissue cut from their cervix were more than twice more prone to having underweight children or preterm births compared to the ones who didn't go through the procedure.
Additionally, when giving birth less than one year from the surgery, the chances of these complications more than tripled. The women who had undergone the surgery were more likely to be overweight or obese, smokers and first-time mothers, compared to the ones who didn't go through the procedure.
The research was financed by GlaxoSmithKline, the company producing one of the two available and FDA-approved HPV vaccines in the United States, and three out of four authors of the study were employed by the company at the time. The fourth author admitted having received consulting fees from both companies that manufacture the vaccines.
"The best thing that women can do is to protect themselves against HPV infection, which is the greatest risk factor for developing cervical dysplasia. Girls and young women should get the HPV vaccine," noted Dr. Christina Chu, a gynecologic oncology researcher who was not involved in the research.
Between 30 and 50 percent of the cases of severe cervical dysplasia progress to invasive cervical cancer if left untreated. Surgical removal is the most common treatment for this condition, and there are no medications available to treat it. The disease can be cured in a vast majority of cases, and HPV infection was found to be connected to the disease. Specialists recommend Pap tests for efficiently detecting the condition on time so that it can be treated before advancing to a more serious stage.
"Without treatment, many cervical dysplasia cases progress to cancer. Women who have been treated for cervical dysplasia have a lifetime risk for recurrence and malignancy," noted by the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Pre-cancer Cervical Treatment Options
As scientific preoccupation for curing cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions increased, researchers found different solutions for some of these potentially life-threatening diseases.
A new treatment option for women suffering from the pre-stages of cervical cancer, consisting of 85 percent trichloroacetic acid (employed for cosmetic and medical skin peeling), was proposed as part of a research published in May 2016. According to the results of that study, 82 percent of the patients achieved complete remission after just one application of the treatment. Additionally, another benefit of this type of treatment is that it is very cost-effective.
"The results are extremely promising, since the procedure can be performed very easily by experts in the field of HPV-induced mutations of the cervix. [...] This means that we now have a real alternative for treating this condition and one that would also be very attractive to poorer countries," noted Paul Speiser, the principal investigator of the research.