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Cervical Cancer Treatment Options

Three Common Treatments

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Updated September 23, 2013

Three methods are commonly used to treat cervical cancer: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sometimes these methods are used alone, while other times they're used in conjunction with one another.

The treatment method(s) chosen depend on several factors, such as the type of cervical cancer, stage of the disease, general health of the patient, and whether other treatments have been utilized. Find out which cervical cancer treatment option is most appropriate, when.

Surgical Methods Used to Treat Cervical Cancer

Surgery is commonly used to treat cervical cancer. In many instances, surgery is combined with other treatment methods, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The type of surgery chosen to treat cervical cancer depends on the stage and other factors.

Surgical treatments for cervical cancer include:


  • Lymphadenectomy Surgical removal of the lymph nodes. This method is common in treating women with cervical cancer.

  • Radical Trachelectomy Removal of the cervix and its surrounding tissue while leaving the body of the uterus intact. A radical trachelectomy with lymphadenectomy is an option for young women with early stage disease who wish to maintain fertility.

  • Radical Hysterectomy Surgical removal of the uterus, cervix, and part of the vagina. In some cases, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and lymph nodes are removed. A radical hysterectomy may be combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

  • Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy Surgical removal of both ovaries and the fallopian tubes. This type of surgery accompanies a hysterectomy in some cases.
  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is prescribed to treat cervical cancer and also to help radiation therapy be more effective. Chemotherapy drugs work by killing cancer cells or preventing them from multiplying. Several chemotherapy drugs are available to treat cervical cancer and will be prescribed according to the stage of cancer, type of cervical cancer, and other health factors.

    Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy uses high energy beams to reduce the size of a tumor or to kill cancer cells. This type of treatment can be done internally with radioactive materials that are implanted in the uterus or externally with the use of a radiation therapy machines.

    Often prescribed with chemotherapy, radiation therapy is an effective method of treating cervical cancer. It can however, be prescribed alone, or before or after chemotherapy. Radiation treatment plans depend on the stage of cervical cancer, other treatment methods used, and the general health of the patient.
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