Pelvic exenteration involves removing the bladder and/or part of the lower bowel (rectum), and the internal reproductive organs (the ovaries, womb, cervix and vagina). This operation is only done if there are no signs of cancer anywhere else in the body.
Only specialist surgeons, who are trained and experienced in doing this type of surgery, should carry out pelvic exenteration. So, you may need to be referred to a specialist centre for the operation. Before making the decision to go ahead with any surgery, it’s important to discuss the benefits and risks with your surgeon. This is a major operation, but can cure the cancer in some people.
Before the operation, you will be referred to a specialist cancer nurse who will give you information and emotional support. In some units, the specialist nurse may be called your key worker.