First Abdominal Trachelectomy

For the first time in Singapore, gynaecologists from Thomson Medical Centre, performed a rare and complicated surgical procedure on a cervical cancer patient, successfully removing the cancerous cervix, and at the same time preserving her fertility.

Possibly, Lisa Guit, 31, a banker, is Singapore’s first patient to have had abdominal trachelectomy performed on her, a procedure that involves removing the cervix via the abdomen, leaving the uterus intact.

The cervix is part of the uterus and removing it usually means losing the uterus, ending in a woman’s ability to conceive.

A trachelectomy is performed either through the abdomen or the vagina, however, in Guit’s case, surgery via the latter was ruled out due to cancer treatment two years ago.

Dr. Tay Eng Hseon, a senior gynaecologist at Thomson Medical Centre (TMC) informed a press conference Wednesday, this complex surgery is not recommended for patients who have undergone radio-therapy before, as after radiotherapy, the tissues are harder to dissect and the risk of complications higher.

They went ahead with the surgery at the request of Ms Guit, who learnt about the procedure through her own research, as well as, the fact that doctors found her uterus had not been affected by the intense radiotherapy.

Guit, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer is recovering well and in her own words said, she had ‘been to hell and back’.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tay has launched a pilot programme to get women who don’t go for pap smear to get tested.

The trial by Thomson Women’s Cancer Centre will involve 200 women who will be provided with self-test kits. The first in Asia, the trial is expected to last six months beginning this May, with close to 40 women enrolled in the programme, currently.

Further, women are also being encouraged to get cervical cancer vaccinations, which offer 80% protection.

Cervical cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women in Singapore, affecting around 200 women every year.