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If your doctor recommends a hysterectomy for early cervical cancer treatment, you have two surgical options: an open radical hysterectomy or minimally invasive surgery (MIS).

Data presented at this year’s Society of Gynecologic Oncology meeting shows that while MIS - which includes robotic surgeries - has been gaining momentum in recent years, an open radical hysterectomy may be a better choice.

One study shows the number of disease recurrences after laparoscopic or robot-assisted surgeries was almost four times higher than the number or recurrences after open surgery. A second study reported an almost 50 percent higher risk of dying within four years of MIS compared to open surgery.

Dr. Robert Wenham

Dr. Robert Wenham

"Given that the two studies had similar findings, we must accept that there may be an advantage of open surgery in terms of recurrence and survival," said Dr. Robert Wenham, chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center. "It is important to note that the reasons for this finding are not completely clear and there are many factors that exist that may make one approach safer for a specific patient. In a particular patient, the benefits of MIS may outweigh the aggregated data presented."

Wenham says he personally continues to perform almost exclusively open radical hysterectomies for cervical cancer because of greater control during surgery. But he also stresses the benefits of minimally invasive surgery for many patients.

"This data adds to the discussion between a woman and her doctor," said Wenham. "At Moffitt, we will continue to have all available options and will individualize the approach for women with cervical cancer."