Treatment overview

Cancer of the cervix can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Your doctor will advise you on the best plan of treatment for you, taking into account a number of factors. These include your general health, and the type and stage of the cancer. The following summarises the treatments that may be used.

Early-stage cancer

Surgery

Surgery is the main treatment for women with early-stage cancer of the cervix.

Radiotherapy

You may be offered radiotherapy:

  • as an alternative to surgery
  • after your surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

Chemoradiation

Radiotherapy in combination with chemotherapy is called Chemoradiation. Some doctors offer chemoradiation instead of surgery or to reduce the risk of your cancer coming back.

Locally advanced cancer

Chemoradiation

This is the most effective treatment for locally advanced cancer.

Surgery

If your cancer has come back in the pelvis (the area of the body between the hips) but not to other parts of the body (such as the lungs) you may be offered an operation known as a pelvic exenteration. This is a major operation and is only suitable for a small number of women.

Advanced-stage cancer

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be used if your cancer has spread to other parts of your body such as the liver or lungs.

Chemotherapy can help to shrink and control your cancer and relieve symptoms. This is called palliative treatment.

Targeted treatment

Bevacizumab (Avastin®) is a drug known as a monoclonal antibody. It may be offered to you alongside chemotherapy.

Back to Understanding your diagnosis

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Staging

The stage of a cancer describes its size and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

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