Treatment overview for cervical cancer

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

The treatment you have 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. Your doctor is an expert in the most effective treatments. But you know most about your own situation and preferences.

Menopause

If you have not been through the menopause, your doctors may try to protect your ovaries so that you do not have an early menopause. An early menopause means having the menopause before the age of 45.

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.

Early-stage cancer

Most cancers of the cervix are diagnosed at an early stage. Surgery is the main 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.

Locally advanced cancer

Chemoradiation is the main treatment for locally advanced cancer.

Advanced-stage 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.

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