Cervical Cancer - Treatment Overview
Treatment during pregnancy
Cancer treatment during pregnancy is the same as for nonpregnant women. But when you'll get treatment may depend on the stage of your cancer and what trimester you are in. For example, if you have early-stage cervical cancer and you are in your third trimester, your treatment may be delayed until after you deliver your baby. Treatment may cause problems such as an early
delivery or even the loss of the baby.
After treatment for
cervical cancer, it is important to receive follow-up
care. Your oncologist or
gynecologic oncologist will schedule regular checkups
that will include:2
- A pelvic exam and
Pap test every 3 to 6 months for the first 2 years.
- After the first 2 years, a pelvic exam and Pap test every 6 months for another 3 to 5 years.
- After 5 years, a pelvic exam and Pap test every year.
Follow-up tests that may be recommended by your
oncologist include an
abdominal and pelvic computed tomography (CT) scan. This test is to
see if cancer has spread to other organs in the belly or
Cervical cancer that comes back
can return, or recur, after treatment. The chance that your
cancer will return depends on the stage of the initial cancer. Cancer found
early is less likely to come back than cancer found at a later stage.
Your long-term outcome (prognosis) for
recurrent cervical cancer depends greatly on how much
the cancer has spread when the recurrence is diagnosed.
Treatments include surgery and chemoradiation or chemotherapy to relieve symptoms. Your doctor may talk with you about being in a clinical trial. Clinical trials for cervical cancer are studying therapies that target cancer cells.
Cancer treatment has two main goals: curing cancer and making your quality of life as good as possible. Palliative care can improve your quality of life by helping you manage your symptoms. It can also help you with other concerns that you may have when you are living with a serious illness.
For some people who have advanced cancer, a time comes when treatment to cure cancer no longer seems like a good choice. This can be because the side effects, time, and costs of treatment are greater than the promise of cure or relief. But this isn't the end of treatment. You and your doctor can decide when you may be ready for hospice care.
It can be hard to decide when to stop treatment aimed at prolonging your life and shift the focus to end-of-life care.
To learn about supportive care, see the topics: