Cervical cancer treatment and recovery

Our multidisciplinary team will work with you and your family to develop the best treatment plan for your case.

Treatments and supportive therapy for cervical cancer

Woman talking with clinic staff memberA typical plan, customized for you, includes drug therapy, such as targeted therapy and/or chemotherapy, with or without steroids. You may also need other types of treatments, such as radiation therapy and surgery. Possible treatments include:

Non-surgical

Chemotherapy. Drugs that destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. We often use more than one drug at a time for maximum results.

Targeted therapy or novel therapy. Drugs that target the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. In recent years, targeted therapy has proven to be increasingly successful at controlling myeloma and improving a prognosis.

Immunotherapy or biologic therapy. Uses materials made either by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function.

Other drug therapy. We may give steroids alone or at the same time as targeted therapy or chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy. High-energy X-rays or other particles that destroy cancer cells.

Surgical

We might use surgery to treat cervical cancer. There are several types:

Cryosurgery. Kills the abnormal cells by freezing them.

Laser surgery. A focused laser beam, directed through the vagina, is used to vaporize abnormal cells or to remove a small piece of tissue for study.

Pelvic exenteration. A more extensive operation to treat recurrent cervical cancer. In this surgery, we remove all of the same organs and tissues as in a radical hysterectomy with pelvic lymph node dissection, plus we may remove the bladder, vagina, rectum, and part of the colon depending on where the cancer has spread.

Radical hysterectomy. We remove the uterus along with the tissues next to the uterus, and the upper part of the vagina next to the cervix. We do not remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes unless there is some other medical reason to do so. We may also remove some pelvic lymph nodes in procedures such as lymph node dissection, laparoscopically assisted radical hysterectomy with lymphadenectomy, and robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery.

Simple or total hysterectomy. We remove the uterus, but not the structures next to the uterus—parametria, uterosacral ligaments and vagina and pelvic lymph nodes. The ovaries and fallopian tubes are usually left in place unless there is another reason to remove them. There are different types of simple hysterectomy: abdominal hysterectomy, vaginal hysterectomy, laparoscopic hysterectomy, laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy and robotic-assisted surgery.

Trachelectomy or radical trachelectomy. Allows women to be treated without losing their ability to have children.