Medical Treatment for Cervical Cancer continued...
Chemotherapy is the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. In cervical cancer, it is used most often when the cancer is locally advanced or has spread to other parts of the body. Just one drug or a combination of drugs may be given. Anticancer drugs used to treat cervical cancer may be given via an IV line or by mouth. Either way, chemotherapy is systemic treatment, meaning that the drugs flow through the body in the bloodstream. They can kill cancer cells anywhere in the body.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles: each cycle comprises a period of intensive treatment followed by a recovery period. Treatment usually consists of several cycles. Most patients have chemotherapy as an outpatient (in an outpatient clinic at the hospital, at the doctor's office, or at home). Depending on which drugs are given and your general health, however, you may need to stay in the hospital during treatment.
Treatment for invasive cervical cancer usually involves a team of specialists. The team generally includes a gynecologic, oncologist and a radiation oncologist. These doctors may decide to use one treatment method or a combination of methods.You may choose to take part in a clinical trial (research study) to evaluate new treatment methods. Such studies are designed to improve cancer treatment. Participating in a clinical trial has both benefits and risks.
Home Care for Cervical Cancer
Self-treatment is not appropriate for cancer. Without medical treatment, the cervical cancer will continue to grow and spread. Eventually, vital body organs will not be able to function properly because the cancer will take their oxygen and nutrients, crowd them out, or injure them. The result is very often death.
Although self-treatment is inappropriate, there are things you can do to reduce the physical and mental stresses of cervical cancer and its treatment.
Maintaining good nutrition is one of the best things you can do. You may lose your appetite during treatment for cervical cancer. Common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, and sores inside the mouth.
However, if you take in enough calories and protein, you will maintain your strength and energy and better tolerate the side effects of treatment. Your cancer specialist (oncologist) or gynecologist may be able to recommend a nutritionist who can provide suggestions for keeping up your calorie and protein intake.
The following lifestyle changes may help keep you stronger and more comfortable during treatment:
- Engage in mild physical activity to keep up your energy level. Make sure it doesn't wear you out.
- Get enough rest at night, and take naps if needed.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid alcohol. You may not be able to drink alcohol with some of the medications you are taking. Be sure to ask your health care provider.