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Treatment of cervical cancer can include :
Your doctor will plan your treatment by taking into consideration a number of factors, including :
Sometimes, especially in the early stages of cancer of the cervix, either radiotherapy or surgery can be used, as both give similar results.
This is given by directing high energy rays over the area of the cancer. Treatment planning is a very important part of radiotherapy and it may take several visits before the radiotherapist is satisfied with the result.
Internal (intracavity) radiotherapy
This is given by inserting an applicator like a tampon, containing a radioactive substance into the cervix under an anaesthetic. It is usually left in place for one or two days and gives a high dose of radiation to the cervix and the surrounding area. Occasionally an implant containing a higher dose of radioactivity is used and this is only in place for a few hours.
In some hospitals a machine, which may be called a Curitron or Selectron or similar name, is used to put the radioactive material into the applicators. The machine is attached to the applicators by tubes. When the machine is switched on it passes small radioactive sources into the applicators. If the machine is switched off, the sources are pulled back inside the machine. When someone needs to go into your room the machine can be turned off, so reducing their exposure to the rays. Once you have received your dose of radiation the sources and the applicators will be removed. This is usually done on the ward.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy could cause the following side-effects:
To learn more about how to cope with these side-effects, please download our booklets "Hair Loss", "Radiotherapy", "Chemotherapy" and "Sexuality and Cancer", or call CancerLink on 3667 3000.