Cervical cancer is generally viewed as treatable and curable, particularly if it is diagnosed when the cancer is in an early stage. This disease occurs in the cervix, or the passageway that joins the lower section of the uterus to the vagina. Like most other cancers, early detection is key to achieving a positive outcome and enhanced quality of life. Receiving an annual Pap smear with HPV testing every three to five years can detect cervical cancer in its pre-cancer or cancerous stages when it is often highly treatable. If it has been more than three to five years since your last normal Pap smear, be sure to speak with your gynecologist about scheduling an exam.
What is the best treatment for cervical cancer?
Each woman’s ideal course of cervical cancer treatment will vary according to her age, overall health and the stage of her cancer. If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, your treatment plan may include one or more of the following approaches:
- For surgery to remove precancerous growths, a portion of the cervix is generally enough. If there is actual cervical cancer noted, the entire uterus and cervix and additional organs and tissues may need to be removed for the best outcome.
- For more locally advanced cervical tumors where surgery can not achieve cure alone, radiation therapy is preferred. Radiation is given to destroy cancer cells or prevent their growth using high-energy X-rays. It is generally combined with Platinum-based chemotherapy.
- Chemotherapy is a cancer-fighting medication that not only sensitizes the cervical cancer cells to radiation and makes radiation work better. It runs throughout the body and potentially kills cancer cells that may have left their original site.
In general, surgery may be recommended if the gynecologic oncologist believes the tumor can be successfully removed along with perhaps additional tissue surrounding the tumor. For cancers that have metastasized or spread to other sites in or outside of the abdomen are generally treated with systemic therapies, like combination chemotherapy. Non-invasive treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be recommended to reduce symptoms in cases where the cancer is advanced and has spread to other areas of the body.
Moffitt Cancer Center offers comprehensive treatment and supportive care to women with cervical cancer of all stages. The multispecialty team at Moffitt’s Gynecologic Program collaborates to create individualized treatment plans for each patient, and utilizes advanced methods such as robotic-assisted surgery and targeted radiation therapy. Eligible patients may also benefit from our robust clinical trials program, which gives women the opportunity to receive the latest breakthroughs in cervical cancer treatment before they are made widely available.
Medically reviewed by Mian Shahzad, MD, PhD, gynecologic oncologist
Moffitt invites women with or without referrals to consult with our experienced gynecologic oncology physicians about their cervical cancer treatment options. To do so, fill out a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488.