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Living with cervical cancer


During and after treatment

It will take some time to recover from your treatment. You will find that there are physical and emotional changes, and it is important that you and the people around you (such as your partner, employer and family members) are prepared.

Cancer symptoms and treatment side effects vary from person to person. Some women will not experience side effects; others may experience a few. Side effects may last from a few weeks to two years. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce or manage the discomfort that side effects cause, and most subside or go away in time.

When you talk to your treatment team about any side effects, be specific. You may find it helpful to keep a diary of any side effects you experience, and take it with you when you see your doctor. Tell your treatment team if you have any new or worsening symptoms.

The sections on this page provide information on side effects that are common to more than one type of treatment.

Contraception during treatment

If you have not had a hysterectomy, are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy and you are premenopausal, you should use contraception (birth control) to avoid getting pregnant during treatment, because these treatments can harm the unborn baby. Although chemotherapy and radiotherapy reduce fertility, it is still possible for some women to become pregnant while having treatment. Should you become pregnant, talk to your doctor urgently. Your doctor may suggest you wait two years after chemotherapy before becoming pregnant.

If you have a stoma (an artificial opening into the body created by surgery to act as an exit for body wastes), the effect of the contraceptive pill may change depending on the surgery and type of stoma you have. Discuss what contraception is suitable for you with your surgeon, stomal therapy nurse or gastroenterologist.