The options that you have to treat your cervical cancer will also be determined by other factors, including your age, the state of your health and your individual preferences and situation. Regardless of what your options are, it is important to take your time when considering them so you can make the best possible decision. Always ask to have your options explained, although your doctor will do his or her best to explain clearly what options you have. One thing to keep in mind when you consider your cervical cancer treatment options is that your ability to have children, as well as your sex life, can be affected by cervical cancer. To find out more about this issue, see the section on sexuality for the woman who has cancer. Before making any important medical decision, make sure that you fully understand your options for treatment and any consequences.
You may need to have more than one type of treatment, depending on the type of cancer you have, and the stage it has reached, and the following specialists may be on your team:
- A doctor specializing in female reproductive system diseases; a gynecologist.
- A doctor who treats cancers of the female reproductive system; a gynecologic oncologist.
- A doctor who treats cancer with radiation; a radiation oncologist.
- A doctor who treats cancer with various medicines as well as chemotherapy; a medical oncologist.
- Nurses, rehabilitation specialists, nurse practitioners and perhaps a social worker may all be on your team and helping you to recover as best you can.
The following are some cervical cancer treatments:
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
A combination of radiation and chemo or surgery may be most applicable for cervical cancer in its early stages. Chemo and radiation combined is often the treatment prescribed for cancer in its later stages while advanced cervical cancer is often treated with chemo alone.
You can feel a lot more confident about choosing the most effective treatment for cervical cancer by getting a second opinion from another doctor, and this is highly recommended for anyone with cervical cancer. Almost all insurance companies will pay to have a second opinion, and some will only pay for certain cancer treatments if they have a second opinion. However, always check with your insurance coverage so you can be sure what their specific policy covers.
You want to make the best possible decision, and one way to do that is to discuss possible side effects as well as treatment options with your doctor. The section outlining the questions that you should ask your doctor offers practical advice to any woman with cervical cancer who is trying to decide on a treatment option.
Palliative treatment is focused on relieving symptoms if a cure is not possible. However, the main goal of your team of cancer care professionals is to remove as much of the cancer as possible and allow you to live a longer life.