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Treatments for Cervical Cancer

The goal of treatment is to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving the cervix and its function. Additional treatment may help to prevent the spread or recurrence of cancer. The treatment plan will often include a combination of approaches based on the characteristics of the cancer, patient's age, general health, and prognosis. Comfort measures can be provided if cervical cancer is in advanced stages.

The treatment and management of cervical cancer most often involves surgery and radiation therapy. Sometimes chemotherapy or biologic therapy is used. The type of treatment depends on the location and size of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, your age and general health, and other factors.

Talk to your doctor before treatment if:

  • You are or think you may be pregnant—Treatment can affect the fetus, leading to birth defects. Pregnancy can change or delay planned treatment. Talk to your doctor about birth control options until treatment is completed.
  • You plan on having children—Some forms of treatment may affect your fertility. There may be options available to preserve it.

The healthcare team will be made up of a variety of health professionals including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. It is important to maintain contact with your medical team, adhere to recommended treatment, and go to any recommended appointments for best outcomes possible.

Cervical cancer treatment includes:

SurgeryRadiationChemotherapyLifestyle changesMedicationsOther treatmentsAlternative and complementary therapies

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.

Revision Information

  • Cervical cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003094-pdf.pdf. Accessed November 17, 2015.

  • Cervical cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114831/Cervical-cancer. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed October 3, 2016.

  • Cervical cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/gynecologic-tumors/cervical-cancer. Updated May 2013. Accessed November 17, 2015.

  • Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/patient/cervical-treatment-pdq#section/%5F180. Updated June 12, 2015. Accessed November 17, 2015.