Cervical Cancer (cont.)
In this Article
- Cervical cancer facts*
- What is the cervix?
- What is cancer?
- What are the risk factors and causes of cervical cancer?
- What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
- How is cervical cancer diagnosed?
- How is staging of cervical cancer determined?
- What is the treatment for cervical cancer?
- What are methods of treatment for cervical cancer?
- How do I go about getting a second opinion?
- What follow-up care is involved after cervical cancer treatment?
- What support, research, and clinical trials information is available for cervical cancer patients?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
You'll need regular checkups (such as every 3 to 6 months) after treatment for cervical cancer. Checkups help ensure that any changes in your health are noted and treated if needed. If you have any health problems between checkups, contact your doctor.
Cervical cancer may come back after treatment. Your doctor will check for the return of cancer. Checkups may include a physical exam, Pap test, and chest X-ray.
You may want to ask your doctor these questions after you have finished treatment:
- How often will I need checkups?
- How often will I need a Pap test?
- What other follow-up tests do you suggest for me?
- Between checkups, what health problems or symptoms should I tell you about?
Sources of support
Learning that you have cervical cancer can change your life and the lives of those close to you. These changes can be hard to handle. It's normal for you, your family, and your friends to need help coping with the feelings that a diagnosis of cancer can bring.
Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are common. You may also worry about caring for your family, keeping your job, or continuing daily activities.
Here's where you can go for support:
- Doctors, nurses, and other members of your health care team can answer questions about treatment, working, or other activities.
- Social workers, counselors, or members of the clergy can be helpful if you want to talk about your feelings or concerns. Often, social workers can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, or emotional support.
- Support groups also can help. In these groups, patients or their family members meet with other patients or their families to share what they have learned about coping with cancer and the effects of treatment. Groups may offer support in person, over the telephone, or on the Internet. You may want to talk with a member of your health care team about finding a support group.
- NCI's Cancer Information Service can help you locate programs, services, and NCI publications. Call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). Or, chat using LiveHelp, NCI's instant messaging service, at http://www.cancer.gov/livehelp.
- Your doctor or a sex counselor may be helpful if you and your partner are concerned about the effects of cervical cancer on your sex life. Ask your doctor about possible treatment of side effects and whether these effects are likely to last. Whatever the outlook, you and your partner may find it helps to discuss your concerns.
Taking part in cancer research
Doctors all over the world are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Research has already led to advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical cancer.
Doctors continue to search for new and better ways to treat cervical cancer. They are testing new treatments, including new drugs, combinations, and schedules. Some studies are combining surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Clinical trials are designed to find out whether new treatments are safe and effective. Even if the women in a trial don't benefit directly, they may still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about cervical cancer and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients.
If you're interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor.
NCI's website includes a section on clinical trials at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials. It has general information about clinical trials as well as detailed information about specific ongoing studies of cervical cancer.
NCI's Cancer Information Service can answer your questions and provide information about clinical trials. Contact CIS at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or at LiveHelp at http://www.cancer.gov/livehelp.
Medically reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology
SOURCE: National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.gov
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