Can you have more than one cone biopsy?

Here is the good news: Yes! You can have more than one cone biopsy or LEEP. In a weird way, that's good news because it means that, if you're like me and have a recurrence, you don't have to have a hysterectomy necessarily.

Recurrence is uncommon, about 4% for early stage cervical cancer, but when it happens, you have to decide what to do. If you've had children and are done, maybe a hysterectomy is acceptable to you, but if not or you want more children, you will want the least invasive surgery possible.

However, the bad news is that your cervix is not an unlimited creation, and my surgeon told me that three surgeries was the limit. They simply run out of tissue to remove.  Well, I reached that limit because I had a LEEP and a cone biopsy just 2 months apart, and a year later, I had another cone biopsy.  That was the last procedure I had to have.

This is also why a really good surgeon is important because the best ones will take the least amount of tissue necessary, preserving as much of your cervix as possible.

While they do hurt (at least most of us think so), colposcopy biopsies don't count. They are quite minor compared to a cone biopsy.  They are like a small pinch of tissue that grows back quite quickly and leaves no scar or damage.  Like when you bite the inside of your cheek--it heals quickly on its own.  Those are not considered "procedures."

Of course, if the cancer had come back a third time, I could have looked into trachelectomy, which is a more invasive surgery, but finally, my body took over and put the HPV to sleep, which is how it's been for many years now.  I don't believe hysterectomy has to be the only answer you're given for a recurrence.

This is another example of why frequent followup Pap smears are so important--if you do have a recurrence, it will be caught very early when it's a much simpler problem to deal with. While I didn't like going to the oncologist every 3-4 months for the first 3 years, I was able to keep my uterus.  Oncologists will stress the importance of follow-up with you, and I am living proof that they're right.  Most women never have a recurrence statistically-speaking, but don't assume anything!