Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Cervical Cancer Treatment

        Health | Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer Treatment (<i>cont'd</i>)
  • Stage I cervical cancer treatments depend on how deep the tumor cells have invaded into the normal tissue.

    • For stage IA cancer, surgery is used to remove the cancer, uterus, and cervix (total abdominal hysterectomy). The ovaries may also be taken out (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy), but are usually not removed in younger women.

      For tumors with deeper invasion (3-5 millimeters), surgery can be performed to remove the cancer, the uterus and cervix and part of the vagina (radical hysterectomy) along with the lymph nodes in the pelvic area (lymph node dissection).

      Conization and internal radiation therapy also are sometimes used for stage IA.

    • For stage IB cancer, your health care professional may recommend internal and external radiation therapy with chemotherapy; radical hysterectomy and lymph node dissection; radical hysterectomy and lymph node dissection followed by radiation therapy plus chemotherapy.

  • Stage IIA cervical cancer treatment may include internal and external radiation therapy with chemotherapy; radical hysterectomy and lymph node dissection; radical hysterectomy and lymph node dissection followed by radiation therapy plus chemotherapy; or just radiation therapy. However, as mentioned earlier, recent clinical trials show that the combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy with cisplatin, possibly combined with other drugs, is more effective than radiation alone.

  • For stage IIB cancer, treatment may include internal and external radiation therapy with chemotherapy.

  • Stage III and IVA: Most health care professionals combine these two groups in terms of prognosis and treatment. The treatment for these two groups used to include internal and external radiation therapy with chemotherapy, but new studies show that the combination of radiation and chemotherapy with cisplatin and possibly other chemotherapy drugs is most effective.

  • Stage IVB cancer treatments often include chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Cancer at this stage is not usually considered curable, so treatments are more to relieve symptoms caused by the cancer than treat the cancer itself.

  • Recurrent cervical cancer may require radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy. If the cancer has come back outside of the pelvis, a patient may choose to go into a clinical trial of a new treatment and/or use chemotherapy or radiation therapy to ease symptoms. If the recurrence is limited to the pelvis, radical pelvic surgery may be recommended.

Last medical review: 6/06
Last date updated: 1/07

Copyright 2007 National Women's Health Resource Center Inc. (NWHRC)


More to Explore