Cervical Cancer Treatment
Expert cancer care based on your needs.
Your treatment for cervical cancer begins with your doctor recommending a customized plan based on expert guidelines, called protocols. Your treatment is determined by:
- The type of cervical cancer you have
- The location of the tumor
- The extent of the disease, called the stage
- Any tests you have had during diagnosis
- A discussion about what is right for you
Other factors include your age, overall health, and the side effects you’ll find acceptable.
You may have questions and concerns about your treatment choices. You may want to know how you’ll feel and function after treatment, and if you’ll have to change your normal activities. Your healthcare provider is the best person to answer your questions. They can tell you what your treatment choices are, what the goals of these treatments will be, how successful they’re expected to be, what treatment will be like, and what the risks and possible side effects are.
Cervical cancer treatment options
Surgery is the removal of the cancer. For cervical cancer, there are many common options:
- Conization is removing a cone-shaped piece of the cervix to allow a pathologist to examine it. This procedure, also called a cone biopsy, can be used in treatment and in diagnosis.
- Hysterectomy is the removal of both the cervix and uterus and surrounding organs or tissue.
- Trachelectomy removes cervix, surrounding tissues and the upper part of the vagina, but not the uterus or ovaries.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy removes the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
- Pelvic exenteration removes the lower colon, rectum, bladder as well as the cervix, vagina, ovaries and nearby lymph nodes.
- Lymphadenectomy removes the nearby lymph nodes to assess spread.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy is the removal and examination of the sentinal lymph node to see if cancer has spread. A positive result means cancer may be present in other lymph nodes or organs.
Legacy Cancer Institute surgeons are trained in minimally invasive techniques, including robotic surgery. These methods help you to recover more quickly from procedures such as hysterectomy.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be one of two types:
- External radiation uses a machine outside the body and aims radiation toward the cancer. Learn more about radiation therapy.
- Brachytherapy uses a radioactive material placed in the body, directly in contact with the tumor, so healthy tissues have less exposure to radiation. Legacy’s technologically advanced brachytherapy program is the largest and most experienced in the region. Learn about brachytherapy.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Learn more about chemotherapy.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to treat cancer (also called biologic therapy). Substances from the body or made in a lab are used to trigger an immune response. They boost, restore or direct your own natural defense against cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy.
Talk to your doctor about these and other options for treating cervical cancer. There may also be a clinical trial (research study) for which you are eligible. Researchers are discovering new therapies for treating cancer all the time, giving doctors new resources for your care.
Gynecological cancer experts
Legacy Cancer Institute, located in Portland, OR, ranks among the nation’s best cancer programs. Our team features some of the region’s most recognized specialists who work together to diagnose and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Find the right provider and treatment close to home.
Legacy Cancer Institute is accredited as an integrated network cancer program by the American College of surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). Learn more about our quality cancer care.
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Working together for you
Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you.
A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.
Legacy Health collaborates with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to advance cancer care in our region. By working together, you benefit from the strength of both leaders in cancer care. As an integrated community cancer program for adults, we make sure that you have access to the latest treatments, technology and research available.
What happens next
Many cancer treatments can cause challenging side effects. Your cancer team is dedicated to helping you manage these symptoms in the best ways possible. Comfort care can treat symptoms to help improve your quality of life; this is also called palliative care.
To see how well your treatment is working, some of the tests used to diagnose and stage your cancer may be repeated. Your doctor uses these tests to decide whether to stop, change or continue treatment based on the results. These tests can also determine if cancer has returned. Whenever possible, we work to stop the growth of cancer and reduce the chance of cancer coming back.
You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.