Treatment of Cervical Cancer

The treatment of cervical cancer varies with the stages of disease, age, general health of the patient and the facilities of the hospital. Three methods are commonly used to treat cervical cancer: surgery,   radiation and chemotherapy. They are used alone or in conjunction with one another.

1.Surgery: Surgery is a common method that always combined with other methods, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

  • Radical hysterectomy: The uterus, cervix, and some of the vagina are removed. The ovaries do not necessarily have to be removed during a hysterectomy.
  • Surgery is usually performed through an incision or using a laparoscope in the abdomen that depends on the surgeon’s preference and the patient. The surgery generally takes two to four hours and stays for two to three days after surgery in the hospital.
  • If the cancer cells has invasion to the margins of the cervix or lymph nodes, removed all the malign tissues; If the tumor has the risk that the cancer will come back, adjuvant treatment is recommended. This generally includes both radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

2.Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy (RT) refers to using the high energy X-rays to stop the growth of the cancer or kill the cancer cells. The radiation therapy includes:

    • Brachtherapy: Brachytherapy delivers temporarily radiation to the area where cancer cells are most likely to be found, minimizing the effects of radiation on healthy tissues. There are two types of vaginal brachytherapy:

    Low dose rate brachytherapy: A device delivers radiation through the vagina for two or three days

    High dose rate brachytherapy: A device delivers radiation through the vagina for only a few minutes at a time once a day, and generally repeated three to five times.

    • External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)

    The source of the radiation is outside the body, and the radiation area is designed carefully to limit the cancer field. During EBRT, the radiation field is positioned beneath the x-ray machine in the same way every day, and exposed to the radiation beam for a few seconds per day, five days per week for five to six weeks. Brachytherapy alone is adequate to treat the cervical cancer of earliest stage. EBRT is generally added to brachytherapy to decrease the chance of the cancer to recur

    3. Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is commonly used for the latest stage cancer and the recurring cancer; also most women are given chemotherapy during the radiation therapy (an approach termed chemoradiotherapy). Chemotherapy can enhance the damaging effect of radiation therapy on cervical cancer.The chemotherapy is usually given in veins once per week.