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Cervical Cancer

AMBULATORY CARE:

Cervical cancer

starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding after sex
  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge between your normal monthly periods
  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge after menopause
  • Pelvic pain or low back pain
  • Swelling in your legs from fluid buildup

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You cannot urinate.

Contact your healthcare provider or oncologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • You have new or heavier bleeding from your vagina.
  • You have new or worsening pain.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have swelling in your abdomen or legs.
  • You have to urinate urgently and often, or you cannot hold your urine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for cervical cancer

may include any of the following:

  • Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells with high-energy x-ray beams.
  • Chemotherapy is medicine given to kill cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy is medicine given to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
  • Surgery may be needed to remove the cervical cancer. Your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus may be removed if the cancer has spread to these areas. All or part of your vagina, bladder, or end of your bowel may also be removed. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on the different types of surgeries you may need.

Self-care:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
  • Exercise as directed. Ask your healthcare provider or oncologist about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise prevents muscle loss and can help improve your energy level and appetite.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk for new or returning cancer. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids prevent dehydration. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Limit or do not drink alcohol as directed. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Also ask how much is safe for you to drink. Alcohol can make it hard to manage side effects of cancer treatment.

Prevent cervical cancer:

  • Use condoms and barrier methods for all types of sexual contact. This will help prevent HPV infection. Use a new condom or latex barrier each time you have sex. This includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Make sure that the condom fits and is put on correctly. Rubber latex sheets or dental dams can be used for oral sex. Ask your healthcare provider how to use these items and where to purchase them. If you are allergic to latex, use a nonlatex product such as polyurethane.
  • Ask about the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is usually given to children and adolescents. It is most effective if given by age 11 years, but it can still be given up to age 26. The vaccine can protect you against HPV. This may help prevent cervical cancer.
  • Get Pap smears as directed. The Pap smear can help diagnose cervical cancer in an early stage. Cancer that is in an early stage may be easier to treat.

For more information and support:

It may be difficult for you and your family to go through cancer and cancer treatments. Join a support group or talk with others who have gone through treatment.

  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address: http://www.cancer.org
  • National Cancer Institute
    6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 300
    Bethesda , MD 20892-8322
    Phone: 1- 800 - 422-6237
    Web Address: http://www.cancer.gov

Follow up with your healthcare provider or oncologist as directed:

You will need to see your oncologist for ongoing tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Cervical Cancer (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

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