Treating cervical cancer

Treatments for cervical cancer include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. You may have more than one of these treatments.

Treatment for cervical cancer depends on:

  • the stage of the cancer
  • the size of the cancer
  • your general health
  • if you have been through the menopause
  • if you want to have children in future.

You and your specialist doctor will decide on the right treatment plan for you.

Treating early stage cervical cancer

Most cervical cancers are diagnosed at an early stage. Surgery is the main cervical cancer treatment. Radiotherapy or chemoradiation (radiotherapy given with chemotherapy) is sometimes used:

  • instead of surgery, if you are not fit for a big operation
  • after surgery, to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

 

Treating locally advanced cervical cancer

Chemoradiation is the main treatment for locally advanced cancer.

Treating advanced-stage cervical cancer

Chemotherapy, and sometimes a targeted therapy called bevacizumab, may be used if the cancer has spread to distant parts of your body such as the liver or lungs. It may help to shrink and control the cancer and relieve symptoms. This is called palliative treatment.

Menopause

Some cervical treatments affect the ovaries. If you have not been through the menopause this may cause an early menopause. Your doctors may plan your treatment to try to protect your ovaries

Fertility

If you want to have children in future, it is important to talk to your doctors about this. You may be able to have treatment that can protect your fertility. If this is not possible, your doctor can refer you to a fertility specialist. You can talk with the specialist about options such as having egg or embryo storage before treatment.

If you are pregnant when you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, we have information about pregnancy and cancer that you may find helpful

About our information

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Nick Reed, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.