Cervical Cancer (cont.)

Treatment

Treatment options for women with cervical cancer are...

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • A combination of these methods

The choice of treatment depends mainly on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. The treatment choice may also depend on whether you would like to become pregnant someday.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. You may want to see a gynecologic oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating female cancers. Other specialists who treat cervical cancer include gynecologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists.

Your health care team may also include an oncology nurse and a registered dietitian. Your health care team can describe your treatment choices, the expected results of each, and the possible side effects. Because cancer treatments often damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. These side effects depend on many factors, including the type of treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may even change from one treatment session to the next. Before treatment starts, ask your health care team about possible side effects and how treatment may change your normal activities. You and your health care team can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your medical and personal needs.

At any stage of the disease, supportive care is available to control pain and other symptoms, to relieve the side effects of treatment, and to ease emotional concerns. You can get information about coping on NCI's website at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping.

Also, you can get information about supportive care from NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). Or, chat using LiveHelp, NCI's instant messaging service, at http://www.cancer.gov/livehelp.

You may want to talk with your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are research studies testing new treatments. They are an important option for women with all stages of cervical cancer. See the section on Taking Part in Cancer Research 4.

You may want to ask the doctor these questions before treatment begins:

  • What is the stage of my disease? Has the cancer spread? If so, where?
  • May I have a copy of the report from the pathologist?
  • What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend for me? Will I have more than one kind of treatment?
  • What are the expected benefits of each kind of treatment?
  • What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment? What can we do to control the side effects?
  • What can I do to prepare for treatment?
  • Will I have to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long?
  • What is the treatment likely to cost? Will my insurance cover the cost?
  • How will treatment affect my normal activities?
  • How may treatment affect my sex life?
  • Will I be able to get pregnant and have children after treatment? Should I preserve eggs before treatment starts?
  • What can I do to take care of myself during treatment?
  • What is my chance of a full recovery?
  • How often will I need checkups after treatment?
  • Would a research study (clinical trial) be right for me?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/10/2014

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Cervical Cancer - Risk Factors Question: Did you have any of the risk factors for cervical cancer at the time of your diagnosis? If so, what were they?
Cervical Cancer - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with cervical cancer?
Cervical Cancer - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your cervical cancer?
Cervical Cancer - Share Your Experience Question: Did you have cervical cancer or a precancerous cervical condition? Please share your experience.
Cervical Cancer - Diagnosis Question: Please discuss the tests or exams that led to a diagnosis of cervical cancer.
Cervical Cancer - Share Surgery Experience Question: Did you have a surgical procedure to treat cervical cancer or a precancerous condition? Please share your experience.