All Set For Tomorrow!

I am ready for another surgery! My Pre-op appointment went very smoothly this morning and I am all set for surgery tomorrow afternoon. I lost count of how many I have had for this, but it has been way too many! Cancer of the Vulva is a terrible disease. Some days I am okay, and others, I am not. In the end, though, I know I will make it as I have made it this far!

Below, you will find some info on Laser Surgery that I was given this morning that you might find informative! Some people only need one treatment but if you are like me, you will need more as time goes on, as it can return, like mine has done so many times.

Vulvar cancer is a rare but serious condition that affects the external female genitalia. It can cause significant physical and emotional distress for those affected. In recent years, there have been significant advancements in the field of vulvar cancer treatments, with laser surgery emerging as an innovative and promising approach. In this post, I will explore the various aspects of laser surgery for vulvar cancer, including its benefits, different types of procedures, preparation, the surgical process, recovery, success rates, and the future of this groundbreaking treatment.

I’ve had this before, so I know what to expect. In the beginning, I was an emotional mess! Emotionally, coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and losing so much of your womanhood is hard, but it is only skin, not what makes you the person you are. I have so many scars now that they cause a loss of feeling but they don’t interfere in my life and what I do.

Understanding Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the vulva, which is the external part of the female genitalia. I was diagnosed in November 1999 when I was 29 years old and have had many treatments for it since then. The most common symptoms include itching, pain, lumps, and ulcers in the vulvar area that bug the shit out of you! While the exact cause of vulvar cancer is unknown, certain risk factors such as human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, smoking, and a weakened immune system may increase the likelihood of developing this condition. I did have Cervical Cancer, which I had a hysterectomy in 1989, and my Doctors think it spread from that.

Introduction to Laser Surgery for Vulvar Cancer

Laser surgery has revolutionized the field of vulvar cancer treatments. It is a minimally invasive technique that uses a focused beam of light to remove cancerous cells from the vulvar area. The laser energy precisely targets the tumour, minimizing damage to healthy surrounding tissues. This approach offers several advantages over traditional surgical methods, including reduced bleeding, decreased post-operative pain, faster recovery times, and improved cosmetic outcomes. It is much better!

Benefits of Laser Surgery for Vulvar Cancer

Laser surgery offers numerous benefits for the treatment of vulvar cancer. Firstly, it is a minimally invasive procedure, which means that it requires smaller incisions compared to traditional surgery. This results in less scarring and reduced pain during the recovery period. Additionally, laser surgery allows for better preservation of healthy tissues, minimizing the risk of complications and improving overall outcomes. Moreover, the precision of the laser beam enables surgeons to precisely target and remove cancerous cells, reducing the chance of recurrence.

Different Types of Laser Surgery for Vulvar Cancer

There are several different types of laser surgery that can be used for the treatment of vulvar cancer, depending on the stage and extent of the disease. One common approach is laser ablation, which involves using the laser to destroy the cancerous cells by vaporizing them. Another technique is laser excision, where the laser is used to cut out and remove the tumour. In some cases, a combination of both ablation and excision may be used to ensure complete eradication of the cancer. Your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate type of laser surgery based on your individual situation.

Preparing for Laser Surgery

Prior to undergoing laser surgery for vulvar cancer, it is important to be well-prepared both physically and emotionally. Your healthcare team will provide you with specific instructions, which may include fasting before the procedure, stopping certain medications, and arranging for someone to accompany you to and from the hospital. It is also essential to discuss any concerns or questions you may have with your healthcare provider, as this will help alleviate any anxiety or uncertainty you may be experiencing.

The Laser Surgery Procedure

On the day of the surgery, you will be taken to the operating room, where you will be given anesthesia to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. Once you are under anesthesia, the surgeon will use the laser to remove the cancerous cells from your vulvar area. The laser energy will be carefully directed to target the tumour while sparing the healthy surrounding tissues. The length of the procedure will depend on the size and extent of the cancer. After the surgery is complete, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will be closely monitored until you are ready to go home. it is a small area this time, as the excision I had in March 2023 got the majority of it!

Recovery and Post-Operative Care

After laser surgery for vulvar cancer, it is normal to experience some discomfort and swelling in the treated area. Your healthcare team will provide you with pain medication and detailed instructions on how to care for the surgical site. It is crucial to follow these instructions carefully to promote proper healing and reduce the risk of complications. You may need to avoid certain activities, such as heavy lifting and sexual intercourse, for a period of time to allow the surgical site to heal completely. Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress and address any concerns or questions you may have.

Success Rates and Long-Term Outcomes

The success rates of laser surgery for vulvar cancer are encouraging. Studies have shown that laser surgery can effectively remove cancerous cells while preserving healthy tissues, leading to excellent long-term outcomes. The precise nature of the laser beam allows for targeted treatment, reducing the risk of recurrence. However, it is important to note that individual outcomes may vary depending on factors such as the stage and extent of the cancer, as well as the overall health of the patient. Your healthcare team will provide you with personalized information regarding your specific situation.

I’ve just had the unfortunate luck that it keeps returning! I must say I have been very happy that I went so long this time between treatments, as my last one was in September 2013.

The Future of Laser Surgery for Vulvar Cancer

Laser surgery has already made significant advancements in the treatment of vulvar cancer, but the future holds even more promise. Ongoing research and technological advancements continue to improve the precision and effectiveness of laser surgery techniques. This includes the development of new laser devices and the exploration of combination treatments, such as using laser surgery in conjunction with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. These innovations have the potential to further enhance the outcomes of vulvar cancer treatments and provide a safer and more effective approach for patients.

Conclusion

In conclusion, laser surgery has emerged as an innovative and promising approach for the treatment of vulvar cancer. With its numerous benefits, including reduced pain, faster recovery times, and improved cosmetic outcomes, laser surgery offers a safer and more effective alternative to traditional surgical methods. As advancements in technology and research continue, the future of laser surgery for vulvar cancer looks even brighter.

If you or a loved one is facing a diagnosis of vulvar cancer, it is important to discuss all available treatment options, including laser surgery, with your healthcare provider. Together, you can make an informed decision that best suits your individual needs and circumstances. I prefer laser but sometimes the tumours are too big and excision is needed. Either way, the abnormal cells are gone, at least till the next time!


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7 thoughts on “All Set For Tomorrow!

    1. Thank you Pooja, my procedure went really well and I am home again now. I feel really good, no pain! Still a bit loopy, but I don’t mind that. Rest and recover for a few days and I’ll be back to normal.

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