How to treat cervical cancer
Cervical cancer can be treated a number of ways, depending on the stage of the cancer. Early stages of cervical cancer may be treated with surgery or radiation therapy, while later stages may require a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Cervical cancer is a serious disease, but with early detection and treatment, it is often possible to achieve a full recovery.
If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is best for you. There are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration when deciding on the best course of treatment, including the stage of the cancer, your overall health, and your personal preferences.
Surgery is a common treatment option for early stages of cervical cancer. The two most common types of surgery are called a radical hysterectomy and a radical trachelectomy. In a radical hysterectomy, the surgeon removes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and lymph nodes in the area. In a radical trachelectomy, the surgeon removes the cervix, part of the vagina, and nearby lymph nodes.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It can be given externally by aiming the rays at your body from outside, or internally by placing radioactive material in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters in or near the cancer. Radiation therapy is often used in combination with surgery, particularly for larger tumors.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs are usually given intravenously (through a vein), but they can also be taken orally. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with radiation therapy, particularly for more advanced cervical cancers.
Targeted therapy is a newer type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to target specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Targeted therapy is sometimes used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments in people. Cervical cancer patients who are interested in participating in a clinical trial should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of doing so.